A Missouri congressman proposes a nationwide system for organ donation.
The Midwest Transplant Network estimates two-thousand Missourians are waiting for life-saving transplants. But there’s no national clearinghouse matching available donated organs to recipients..
Visiting dialysis clinics in his district has emphasized for Congressman William Lacey Clay the importance of better linking donated organs with people needing them. What convinced him to take action, however, was a meeting he had with former Dallas Cowboys football player Everson Walls, who donated a kidney to teammate Ron Springs several years ago. He says the story was so heartening that he wanted to see how coordination of donors and recipients could be improved.
Clay hopes for hearings soon on his bill establishing that national clearinghouse. He says the national waiting list holds at about 100-thousand people annually, but about six-thousand people die every year because a donor organ cannot be found. Clay thinks his bill will reduce the waiting time and speed deliveries of available organs.
He hopes the House Commerce Committee will put the bill on a fast track so it can be sent to the U. S. Senate. He says Senator Carl Levin of Michigan has introduced a companion bill in that chamber.
Clay says it’s important for people to sign their drivers licenses and become potential donors. In fact, he recently had a meeting to discuss his bill and discovered he had not signed the back of his license, an oversight he quickly corrected. Clay promotes the Mid-America Transplant Services, which is in his hometown of St.Louis with other offices in Springfield, and Cape Girardeau. The Midwest Transplant Network is in the Kansas City suburb of Westwood, Kansas.
Websites for the two organizations: