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Abstract

New drugs and techniques have been steadily increasing the number of patients able to benefit from organ transplants, but the supply of organs has not kept pace with demand. While about 39,000 candidates join waiting lists for organs in the United States every year, only about 14,000 deaths occur in a manner leaving organs usable for transplants and only about half of those organs, approximately three per cadaver, are actually donated. Lack of permission to use the remaining suitable organs leads to about sixteen deaths daily in the United States and is why over 85,000 candidates remain on transplant waiting lists." The majority are waiting for kidneys, resulting in increased use of dialysis, which is not only burdensome for patients but also costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars per year. This Commentary contends that a reciprocity policy could dramatically increase donations and thereby decrease associated deaths. Under the policy, those who committed to donate organs would be granted a preference in the event that they later required a transplant.

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