Friday, 06 Jun, 2008 Offbeat

NY Plans to Introduce Transplant Ambulance


New York City is planning to create an ambulance that will rapidly arrive to newly deceased to preserve their bodies for further organ transplant. Though this initiative can raise a number of ethical issues and can be considered hideous, medical officials are convinced that this can considerably increase the number of donors.

Usually, only people who die at hospitals were allowed to become organ donors, because doctors have the necessary equipment to remove the organs before they become unsuitable for transplant. It can take just a few hours or less for a doctor to remove the vital organ such as liver, or kidneys to save someone's life.

The "organ removal" ambulance is the first of its kind plan in the US, while in several areas of Europe this system proved to be quite successful.

The ambulance will arrive at place after several minutes of the individual's death. The doctors will immediately take efforts to preserve the body for further organs removal. Preservation will not require the approval of the family members or the previous wishes of the deceased regarding organ donation.

In spite of the fact, that organs will be taken for transplant only with the approval of the relatives in the hospital, some problems with the procedure are still likely to occur.

Maxwell Mehlman, director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland explained that many family members could be scared by the fact that the ambulance takes such rapid measures and question whether paramedics made enough efforts to save the patient before death. Religious disapproval by the families of the deceased is also likely to occur.

Medical and other officials, working on the initiative, say that they will take some precautions when introducing the program. Paramedics involved in lifesaving efforts and transplant ambulance will not connect with each other and a separate supervisor will call the ambulance for organ recovery.

The ambulance team will include a counselor, who will try to persuade the family members of the deceased to agree with the organ recovery.

Researchers said that no steps would be taken if the New Yorkers, including religious groups and members of the Manhattan disagree with the program.

Dr. Richard O'Brien, an emergency physician at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton said that a great number of people die every month because they have no organ donors to save their lives and the new plan can make a difference in this situation.

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