Israel first in soliciting organ donations

Donor Action Foundation praises Israeli hospitals.

August 13, 2010 05:27
2 minute read.
Doctors in the OR

doctors operating room 311. (photo credit: HBL)


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Among countries that do organ transplants, Israel is in first place for identifying nearly every possible lower-brain-dead person whose relatives should be asked to donate the person’s organs, according to data just published by the Donor Action Foundation.

Israel Transplant, an arm of the Health Ministry, is responsible for supervising the process of organ donation and allocation in Israeli hospitals. It is chaired by Rambam Medical Center director-general Prof. Rafael Beyar and directed by Tamar Ashkenazi, who is in touch constantly with organ donation coordinators in all the general hospitals.

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The Donor Action Foundation, established in 1998, is an international leader in improving the rate of hospital organ and tissue donations.

According to the foundation, only five potential organ donors are “missed” per year in Israel, compared to 600 successful identifications of patients who are brain dead and whose organs can be used. Not all of the families agree, for a variety of reasons, but Israel Transplant and the hospital coordinators do their utmost to find potential candidates and try to persuade their families.

Thus the rate of unasked families in Israel is only about 7 percent, compared to 55% in Poland, 22% in Switzerland, 20% in Finland and 18% in France.

Israel Transplant was also praised in the report for succeeding in preserving the donated organs themselves before they reach the recipients, and for maximizing the number of donated organs that can be used for transplant.

The Israeli organization uses a computer system that objectively assesses data on wouldbe recipients and the available organs and matches them up according to predetermined criteria.

The Health Ministry pays membership dues to the foundation to be part of its Donor Action Program.

Founded by the Eurotransplant International Foundation (in The Netherlands), the Organizacion Nacional de Trasplantes (Spain), and the Partnership for Organ Donation (US), the foundation is currently chaired by Dr. Bernard Cohen of The Netherlands.

The establishment of the foundation followed the 1994 development of the Donor Action Program, which aims to alleviate the shortage of donor organs and tissues worldwide. The program works to promote sustainable increases in organ and tissue donation rates, providing international leadership in the development of donation processes and protocols; working with public and private bodies to encourage legal organ donorship; and ensuring professional and supportive treatment of the families of potential donors.

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