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Difficulties In Donor Organ Allocation Given The Limited Supply

Robert S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH

Robert S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH

The November 10, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine features an editorial by Robert S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, titled Transplantation for Alcoholic Hepatitis — Time to Rethink the 6-Month “Rule.”

In this editorial, Dr. Brown addresses the difficult questions surrounding how to fairly allocate donor organs, which are in far shorter supply than their demand. In the case of patients with alcoholic hepatitis, current guidelines exclude such patients from the liver transplant waiting list unless they have successfully abstained from alcohol for at least six months. Yet as Dr. Brown points out, many die before this required, albeit arbitrary, window elapses. And a new study indicates that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Cornea Transplant Lasts 123 Years

A fascinating story from Reuters (h/t Dr. Wes):

Bernt Aune’s transplanted cornea has been in use for a record 123 years — since before the Eiffel Tower was built.

“This is the oldest eye in Norway — I don’t know if it’s the oldest in the world,” Aune, an 80-year-old Norwegian and former ambulance driver, told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. “But my vision’s not great any longer.”

He had a cornea transplanted into his right eye in 1958 from the body of an elderly man who was born in June 1885. The operation was carried out at Namsos Hospital, mid-Norway.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the oldest living organ in the world,” eye doctor Hasan Hasanain at Namsos hospital told the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang.

In the 1950s, doctors expected it to work for just five years, Hasanain said. Such cornea operations date back to the early 20th century and were among the first successful transplants.

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