Letter Outlines Significant Concerns with House Committee’s Unreleased Report | News Direct

Letter Outlines Significant Concerns with House Committee’s Unreleased Report United Network for Organ Sharing leaders detail inaccuracies, other issues

News release by United Network for Organ Sharing

facebook icon linkedin icon twitter icon pinterest icon email icon Richmond, VA | April 29, 2022 10:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time


Today, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Board President Matthew Cooper, M.D. and Board Vice President Jerry McCauley, M.D. sent a letter to the Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sharing their concerns about a report that the committee chose not to release.

After receiving an embargoed copy of the report, media outlets began inquiring about the contents. Based on their questions, the report appeared to draw inaccurate conclusions about the nation’s organ donation and transplant system based on a fundamental misunderstanding of donation data and the organ procurement process. The UNOS letter outlines concerns about the impact such a report could have on patients and expressed disappointment in the lack of basic knowledge outside critics involved in the report’s development appear to have about organ donation and recovery.

The letter also thanked members of the committee for halting the report’s release.

Below are excerpts from the letter:

“It is our understanding that the report concludes that some of the nonprofits responsible for facilitating organ donations, organ procurement organizations (OPOs), are missing the “vast majority” of opportunities for donation. Based on the statistics shared with us by the press, it appears as though the report assumes that every person who has died in a hospital is a “potential donor,” even if they were not medically cleared to be an organ donor. In fact, less than 1% of all deaths in the U.S. occur in ways clinically compatible with organ donation; people who die of cancer, sepsis, certain infectious diseases, or organ failure are ruled out for donation by the OPO using medical criteria established by transplant physicians for the safety of the potential recipient.”

“The effect of recommending that organ procurement organizations should seek donation authorization for every in-hospital death would have OPOs approaching grieving families about organ donation – even when the OPO had already determined that that donation was not a clinical possibility. Giving false hope to families at such a difficult time wouldn’t just be inefficient, it would be cruel.”

“This is not the first time that the organ donation and transplant system has been the subject of criticisms based on inaccurate data. A small group of critics has been circulating a series of op-eds, self-funded “research,” and out-of-context references to paint the world’s highest-performing organ donation and transplant system as ineffective.”

The letter closes with Cooper and McCauley sharing the ongoing successes of the nation’s donation and transplantation system and referring to the thoughtful recommendations offered in the recently released National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report as a blueprint for continuing to improve the system, address challenges, and best serve patients.

 Read the full letter here.



About UNOS

 United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the mission-driven non-profit serving as the nation’s transplant system under contract with the federal government. We lead the network of transplant hospitals, organ procurement organizations, and thousands of volunteers who are dedicated to honoring the gifts of life entrusted to us and to making lifesaving transplants possible for patients in need. Working together, we leverage data and advances in science and technology to continuously strengthen the system, increase the number of organs recovered and the number of transplants performed, and ensure patients across the nation have equitable access to transplant.


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