BY ASHLEIGH MILLS KENTUCKY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky doctors worry a federal policy handed down just weeks ago will impact people in need of organs in the Bluegrass, especially those in rural areas who need a liver.
At The University of Louisville Hospital, doctors are speaking out by publishing opinions in local newspapers. Chief Executive Officer of UofL Health, Tom Miller, is one of several who have written to explain their position to challenge the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) policy to have livers from deceased donors be first offered to the most urgent transplant candidates in more urban, inner-city areas with higher populations deemed ‘greatest need’.
Doctors in Kentucky claim there could be a 40% reduction in liver transplants in Kentucky. At the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), staff are using this new policy to further push for me people to agree to be donors.
There’s a long waiting list to receive an organ in Kentucky, 946 people waiting for an organ, says KODA’s Shelley Snyder. She adds that 149 of those are waiting for a liver.
“The real challenge is that it’s a scarcity of organs. It’s not enough people saying ‘yes’ to organ donation,” says Snyder.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to UofL Hospital for an interview with the doctors challenging the new policy, but they were not immediately available for a comment on Wednesday.