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Stand-alone facility for organ retrieval is more efficient, less costly than hospital
Date:2/24/2014

alone facility either by ambulance, if the hospitals are within an 80-mile radius, or by air. The organization owns an airplane that can accommodate mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed to keep donors' bodies stable.

Surgical teams still must travel to the facility to retrieve donor organs, but they do not need to scramble for an open operating room. The operating room at the facility, which is primarily used by Washington University and Saint Louis University surgeons, can be scheduled as soon as a donor is available, so surgeons and patients' families all know what to expect.

"Organ donors often are given low priority in hospitals because of scheduled surgeries or emergency cases," explained the study's senior author, William C. Chapman, MD, the Eugene M. Bricker Chair of Surgery and surgical director of the Washington University transplant center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "In addition to the cost savings, we rarely encounter delays anymore, making organ donation easier on families who have lost loved ones and on transplant teams because we can know when donors' surgeries will take place."

The facility also is staffed by critical care nurses and other personnel who have expertise and training in organ donation.

As part of the study, the researchers analyzed 915 liver transplants performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital during a 10-year period from 2001 through 2011, looking at where the organs were procured. In the first year, 36 percent (9/25) were retrieved at Mid-America Transplant Services, gradually increasing to 93 percent (56/60) during the last year of the analysis.

By 2011, the average cost of retrieving a liver had dropped 37 percent, from nearly $8,000 to just under $5,000, largely due to a reduction in costs at the facility compared with hospital costs. Donors' families do not pay for any costs associated with organ retrieval, and any cost savings realized by moving donors to the Mid-America Transpl
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Contact: Judy Martin
martinju@wustl.edu
314-286-0105
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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