News Roundup #13: Facebook boosting organ donors, Kidney in a third body, UK’s first trafficking case,

A screenshot of the process of indicating you're an organ donor on Facebook

It seems this roundup is lucky number 13, with the a groundbreaking, cusp-of-viral, organ donation initiative from Facebook, unprecedented kidney re-transplantation, and a whole slew of other newsy goodness.

Organ donor: Like?

100 million new organ donors in the next four days? Entirely possible, claims Dr. Andrew Cameron, the physician who helped usher organ donor consent onto Facebook. We’ve had discussions here before about the uses of social media in donor recruitment. But Facebook took things to a whole new level when they announced their Life Event timeline would encourage people to indicate their organ donor status. Here’s an official rundown of the entire process.

This is very connected to a discussion that our friends at Death Reference Desk have been participating in for ages, i.e. having a social media plan for when you die, and what to do with the information of deceased social media users. Knowing a loved one’s wishes when they’ve passed away is one of the best facilitators for increasing donation rates. Our translation of recent Dutch research indicates that if the wishes are unknown this can be a huge mitigating factor in next-of-kin consent.

Though how valid Facebook will be as an indication of consent, and how much privacy is protected is a serious concern with the adoption of this new option for voicing donor consent.


Washington Post coverage

Mark Zuckerberg discusses the initiative with Robin Roberts and how his medically trained girlfriend was part of the inspiration.

UNOS comment on the launch.

A bioethical endorsement from Arthur Caplan.

Third time’s a charm

New England Journal of Medicine published the announcement of the first known successful transplant of a previously transplanted kidney. Too much to wrap your head around? In short, the first recipient received a kidney donated by his sister. When the engraftment proved unsuccessful in treating his rare condition (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis), it was re-transplanted into a new recipient. Of course, we’re glad to hear that it seems there were significant ethical consultations with all parties involved. The new recipient, it turns out, is a retired surgeon, which means that it is likely he had the expert knowledge to fully comprehend the procedure and its ramifications in a way that other may not. This would sidestep a lot of informed consent questions, and made him an ideal recipient for the pioneering organ “recycle.”

Other bits and pieces

The Telegraph has a brief of the first ever reported organ trafficking incident in the UK.

On our continued tracking of the Flynn v. Holder case, here’s a radio story.

Cheney’s heart transplant generates an NY Times discussion of older transplant recipients and allocation changes.

Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology has just launched an app. In a promotional offer, you can get articles for free in a 90 trial of the app.

2 Responses to “News Roundup #13: Facebook boosting organ donors, Kidney in a third body, UK’s first trafficking case,”
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    1. […] a “Like” feature to recognize registered organ donors throughout the United States. Facebook also provided social media network application to direct people who are interested in signi… After this launch, the number of newly enrolled donors into the organ donor registry increased […]

    2. […] approach to all of the social media mobilizing, which seems to be on everyone’s mind since the Facebook App went live. It is interesting to note that this may be because this particularly community believes good old […]

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