National Waiting List

Essay by kchibHigh School, 11th gradeB+, April 2004

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There are currently 83,543 people on the National Waiting list to receive organ donations and the number is gradually rising every day. One percent of people on the list are non-resident aliens. Although this percentage is small, the issue for non-resident aliens' organ recipients is a scorching topic among transplant centers and organizations. Non-resident aliens should not be able to be added to the National Waiting List.

Non-resident aliens are defined as "an individual granted permission by the United States Government to enter the United States on a temporary basis as a non-immigrant alien for purposes which include tourism, business, education, medical care, or temporary employment." (Finn) Although some aliens can be granted permission to enter the United States to receive medical care, some still enter illegally. In an article in USA Today, the Santillan family, illegal Mexican immigrants, entered the country to allow Jesica, their daughter, to receive a heart and lung transplant.

Unfortunately for the Santillan family, Jesica died because the donated organs didn't match her blood type. " Ms. Santillan was registered on the national waiting list as a candidate for a heart-lung transplant," the statement indicated, "However, she did not appear on the 'match run' -a computer-generated list of potential recipients who were medically compatible with the donor--because her blood type did not match the donors." (Friend)

UNOS ( United Network for Organ Sharing)/OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplant Network) policies have established a procedure for matching donors and recipients and require that detailed medical information about each donor, including blood type, be recorded and provided to the transplant center, If properly followed, these polices should prevent flawed blood-type mismatches. (Finn) Non-resident aliens either legal or illegal do not appear on "match run" and therefore more at risk to receive a mismatched organ. Without this mix-up then...