News Roundup #12: Living donor safety, Portland piñata, transplant tobacco test, Donate Life Month

We’ve reached a dozen news roundups!

Living donors need protection

This report from CNN actually fairly evenhandedly reports about a recent living organ donor death. The articles sidebar actually shows positive success rates for transplantation, and points out that death from living organ donation is an exception, not a rule. However, it also points out some practices that need to be in place to ensure safety of a living organ donor. It’s a shame that death is what motivates more thorough investigation into living donor assessment and surgical approaches, but hopefully the work will continue beyond a singular scare. In fact, TransplantInformers covered recent developments to improve policy and tracking of living donors. Improved safety and monitoring of donors is crucial to reassuring those who register as potential donors that their well-being is respected just as much as the patient whose life they may save.

Bone breaking?

With simultaneous elements of the heartwarming and surreal, a Portland celebration united a bone marrow transplant survivor and her donor. The Mexican and European mixed heritage of the donor and patient was a salient connection in the story. A curious extension of the ethnic identification and its relation to a successful bone marrow transplantation manifested itself in the form of a papier-mâché bone-shaped piñata.

Assessing smoking cessation for survival

From the Mayo Clinic:

Testing patients for traces of a chemical that tobacco leaves behind can identify smokers and open the door for physicians to help them quit, Mayo Clinic researchers say….

Bone marrow transplant patients can face serious consequences from tobacco use after a transplant, such as increased risk of death, complications requiring longer hospitalization and a higher likelihood of developing a secondary medical condition….

Accurate identification of smoking or recent smoking behavior among patients before and after transplants provides a unique opportunity to help tobacco users quit and avoid relapses — also logical considering patients may be in the hospital for a long time and have better access to those programs.

And while matched unrelated bone marrow donors may have no idea whether they’re donating to someone who has a smoking habit or not, nor do they know any other factors of their recipient’s outcome in the immediate aftermath, for a multitude of ethical reasons, this is one extra clinical intervention that is encouraging for donors to know about. And it is a boon for the effectiveness of transplantation outcomes on the whole.

April showers

As many of you may be aware, April is National Donate Life Month in the U.S. Here’s a sprinkling of links about it:

From roundup #10, a librarian’s guide for the month.

The NDLM press kit.

The presidential proclamation. It’s not lost on us that the proclamation opens with the words, “With quiet compassion and exceptional generosity, organ and tissue donors leave an indelible mark on the lives of countless Americans. Their selfless acts inspire hope at moments of profound need, and they recall the giving spirit that lies at the heart of our national character. ” The focus on altruism is very much in keeping the Obama administration’s (unsuccessful) attempt to appeal the Flynn v. Holder decision in favor of compensation for bone marrow donors.

An April Fool’s tie-in.

A Bodega Bay commemorative artistic piece featured in the Bay Citizen/New York Times.

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