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British Liver Trust
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Opinions please

Dear all

I would like to draw your attention to this article from today's Guardian theguardian.com/society/201...

which raises some interesting and challenging issues re allocation of organs and organ donation generally,

Thoughts greatly appreciated in advance of a response I would like to write later today.

Best wishes


7 Replies

That's a strange article Mike.It is the US Guardian edition which I think explains a fair bit of why I found it an uncomfortable read. However there were a couple of things that I don't think are cultural but I struggled to comprehend.

First was the discussion of live liver donors. This practice is very rare as far as I understand especially for an adult man. As I'm sure you're aware it means taking part of the donors liver and using on the patient. However the difference between a live and "deceased" liver transplant is so vast that it has to be described in the article as not doing so I think is extremely irresponsible. It's never commented that this is most often not an option. I also find it very hard to believe that the man at the end of the article was unaware whether his father had a live or dead donor. The procedure and the after care must be so vastly different.

I think the main purpose of this article is to highlight that a "famous" person or person with contacts is more likely to get a transplant. However it only seems to have applied to this one man. Every other case they talk of eventually got a liver from a deceased donation.

At the end of the article I just thought it did far more harm than good from the perspective of raising awareness of the need for organ donation.

In my view not an educational or newsworthy item, just sensationalism. Irresponsible and potentially harmful.

However there is one thing I would take away from this article.

"Of the 560 people who were tested for Melnyk, however, just 12 said they would volunteer for someone else."

IF this is true I find it staggering, and something I can't understand!

1 like

I would imagine the donor was 'compensated' in some way.....


Mike what was your response that today?


Hi Joe, I spoke to the press officer from BLT whose impression was more favorable. She was going to run it past some BLT senior people to see if a response from them would be appropriate.

By that time, it was too late to get an immediate response for the letters page but I wonder if there is any merit in a more considered response from within the community. If you (or anyone else) is interested in putting together a longer piece than a letter, drop me an email to mikedavis8702@aol.com - I would be happy to coordinate.



"I think the main purpose of this article is to highlight that a "famous" person or person with contacts is more likely to get a transplant."

Couldn't have put it better myself. It's the Guardian so this fits in nicely with their constantly pushed, general agenda of perceived inequality. When actually the "problem" of favouritism in live Liver transplantation seems to me to be a tiny, almost insignificant one to me reading that article..


I align much with RodeoJoe, uncomfortable to read, much about celebrity (which I have little interest in) and live liver donation is a not so easy option, mentioned in an off hand manner where as I understand live kidney donation (although still a big deal) is much less involved and less risky.

My son was set up and worked up for a live liver donation for me, when at the last hour I was fortunate to receive a DCD (donation after cardiac death) liver.

I seem to understand that live donation is fraught with complications (for both parties) and is not that common in UK.

In my transplant centre they had never performed an adult live donation (as at 2014 ) of over 600 deceased transplants.

I understand in Saudi they are more experienced in live transplants, due to religious beliefs, and their attitude to dead body parts, in fact had I elected for a live donation myself, they were planning to call in expertise from Saudi to oversee their first live transplant.

So as I understand it, the article was far too flippant on the live liver donation subject.

IF (and rich people will) choose to shortcut the system, the international market is where it will happen, go to Saudi with a wad of cash and I imagine a portion of a liver and a surgeon can be arranged.

I do not want to see anything like it over here.

Instead, Spend money of heightening awareness, consider the Welsh opt out, look at other countries is it Romania? that has increased its donation rate dramatically by placing a transplant co-ordinator in every hospital, is the way to go.

This is probably a thin end of the wedge on a subject that must not get its integrity in question in the slightest way.


Well,I'm sorry,but personally I wouldn't give the faeces off the bottom of my walking apparatus to the first individual mentioned at the start of this article-irrespective of how many ice skates he has donated to 'needy kids'.Sadly I don't have the time or energy to respond in a considered way to such a wide-ranging issue such as this given the limitations of typing on a phone.Just a few hazy,unthought out gut reactions.An issue like this musnt be dragged into into the facile/banal arena of social networks-Ban campaigns such as this immediately.Meld is totally the way to go-we all have sob/hard luck stories to tell-and we aren't all irresistibly young and cuddly.(Except for me:-)).The end result of this ghastly emotional heart string pull bullshit is ill-considered emotional decisions based on awwww-bless.On a darker note,living in a capitalist society,where you hope,money can't buy everything-actually-it CAN and does.And follow the greedy,materialistic road a little further,and young children being snatched off the streets of China becomes less surprising.....


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