Favor the Waiver

Myths and Facts About Organ Sharing in Tennessee

Here's a breakdown of some myths and facts about organ transplantation in Tennessee.

Myth Fact
Methodist has an unfair advantage when it comes to getting organs, and people with money get preferential treatment. The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) ensures that organs go to the sickest patients first. A score is assigned to each patient based on how sick they are, and organs are allocated not by patient name, but only by a 6-digit number assigned for organ allocation purposes. The rules for who gets an organ are rigorously followed so the sickest patients get organs first, whether they be rich or poor, famous or unknown. No exceptions.
People outside the Mid-South come here to “cut in line” to get an organ. UNOS encourages all patients to place themselves on more than one waiting list. Methodist's wait times are currently comparable to virtually every major liver transplant program in the Southeast.  Nearly 90% of our transplant recipients live in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. 
Memphis transplant patients will not be disadvantaged by the new regulations. Patients served by the Methodist Transplant Institute, in partnership with UT, stand to lose access to a population of 5.5 million donors in Middle and East Tennessee, reducing access to livers by 75%. 
The regulations will ensure fairness and save lives right here in Memphis. The math is simple.  There will be many fewer organs available for transplantation in our community; hence there will be fewer community residents getting a life-saving transplant.  This is an undeniable fact.  Last year Mid-South Transplant Foundation (MSTF) procured 62 donors, and Methodist/UT performed 260 transplants.  The difference is a good estimate of the number of patients who could die while waiting for an organ.  It is our moral obligation to make sure that doesn't happen.
There will be enough livers available for recipients in the Mid-South. On the contrary.  Methodist is on track to perform 150 liver transplants this year. Because of their limited service area, MSTF is simply not able to meet the needs of our community's patients.
There is no need to merge the two Tennessee OPOs.

Most states only have one OPO.  In the 50 states, there are only 58 OPOs, and the states with more than one are those with the largest populations, such as California and Texas.  We are surrounded by states with just one OPO, including Georgia, which has the 9th largest population in the nation.

MSTF is the 5th smallest OPO in the country, and the number of organs they're able to procure is simply insufficient to serve our community.  We simply want patients in our community to have fair access to organs so they have the best chance of living.

Methodist is pushing this because Transplant is an important part of their business plan.

Methodist actually loses money on the transplant program.  The program is important because patients in our service area need this life-saving treatment.