When I was in the hospital waiting at the top of the liver transplant list, no one thought it would take three weeks to find an acceptable donor. One surgeon had worked in Florida and told us that in that state, I would have been almost guaranteed a transplant the same day. I found out first hand the geographic discrepancy that exists in liver transplants and am thankful that I was able to survive. Steve Jobs traveled from California to South Carolina to receive his liver transplant because of these allocation differences.
The OPTN/UNOS Liver and Intestinal Organ Transplantation Committee has come out with a concept paper to reduce the geographic variation in liver transplantation. They’re looking for input from the community on their concepts and methods by July 11 and will have a public forum in September.
If you’re interested in reading about liver allocation changes and can provide input, you can access the paper through this link: http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/ContentDocuments/Liver_Concepts_2014.pdf
A quick summary from the paper:
“The Liver Committee has investigated a number of approaches to reduce geographic disparity….A leading method under consideration, as an alternative to existing local/regional liver distribution, is distribution based on districts that were mathematically optimized to reduce the variation in the median MELD at transplant….A series of maps have been generated using mathematical optimization techniques designed to decrease geographic disparity based upon criteria identified by the Liver Committee.”