Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

New Ways to Attract Organ Donors

Panel Calls for Revised CPR Methods to Increase Organ Donations
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 2, 2006 -- A government panel called on American hospitals and emergency medical responders to revamp their resuscitation procedures as a way to preserve more organs for transplants.

The recommendation comes amid a widening shortage of transplantable organs that many experts have branded a crisis. Demand for transplantable organs has far exceeded the rate of transplant donations over the last decade.

Just over 28,000 organs were donated last year, far from the number needed to treat the more than 98,000 people waiting on lists for transplants as of Tuesday, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Longer life expectancy means that more Americans survive long enough to see their organs give out. Skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes put far more people than before at risk for organ failure.

New CPR Methods

The shortage has left policy makers searching for ways to boost donations among a largely reluctant American public.

Experts from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said Tuesday that emergency responders should change resuscitation procedures in an effort to preserve the organs of accident victims and others who die outside of hospitals. The recommendations essentially call on responders to regularly continue cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on patients who are not revivable to keep blood flowing to kidneys, livers, and other organs so that they may be better candidates for possible organ donation.

Doing so could give transplant surgeons access to a pool of up to 16,000 people who die with organs suitable for transplant, the panel concluded.

"Those really represent an untapped resource," James F. Childress, PhD, the panel's chairman, tells WebMD.

Financial Incentives for Organ Donations

The report also calls for federal authorities to fund more research on methods for encouraging altruistic donations and to help coordinate a growing number of state donor registries on a national scale.

But the committee avoided several bolder -- and more controversial -- proposals that some experts consider necessary to spur organ donations. They include calls to introduce a system of "assumed consent" -- essentially authorizing surgeons to take organs from deceased patients whose wishes are unknown and whose families are not available to make decisions.

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing