Experts OK new organ donation threshold
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Medical experts agreed on setting the threshold for cardiac death organ donors at five minutes of no detected heartbeats, the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center (TORSC) said yesterday.
February 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
TORSC Chairman Dr. Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said that this proposal will be applied on registered organ donors who are at the final stage of a disease and are declared to be at or near the point of death.
According to the National Organ Transplant Act, there are currently two sources of organ donations in Taiwan: donations from neurological death patients and live organ donation.
Considering the demand for organ donations is high in Taiwan, Lee said, it is necessary to discuss the possibility of allowing cardiac death patients to donate their organs as a third source of organ donation.
Lee said “Medical experts agreed on setting the threshold of organ donation for cardiac death patients to be no heartbeat detected for at least five minutes.”
Tsai Fu-chang (蔡甫昌), associate professor and chairman of National Taiwan University Hospital's Department of Social Medicine, said that doctors should make sure that organ donors really show no signs of life and that the medical treatments the donors received before passing away were done according to standard procedures.
“I suggested separating doctors who treat organ donors from the medical teams that operate organ transplants to avoid potential disputes between donors' family members and the hospital,” said Tsai.
Tsai said that it is also important to build up effective channels of communication between doctors, organ donors and donors' family members.
According to Lee, there are around 200 organ donors who make donations annually. However, depending on the conditions of donors' bodies, about half of the 200 donors donate organs and the other half of them donates tissue.