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Asian American Medical Society

Organ transplantation, the medical procedure in which an organ is removed from a donor and placed in the recipient's body, is the best therapy for terminal and irreversible organ failure. However, because of the vast number of patients on the transplant waiting list (over a hundred thousand) and the relatively low availability of donors, about seventeen people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. Adding on to that, age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, place of residence, level of health literacy, patient awareness, and inadequate training of healthcare providers all impact equity in access to organ transplantation and post-transplant care.

Here are some quite disturbing facts. Ethnicity is a huge factor in organ transplantation. In the United States, black people are four times as likely to develop kidney failure as white people but are much less likely to receive kidney transplants. Black people also experience the highest rates of heart failure but receive heart transplants at lower rates than their white counterparts. In Europe, gender disparities are also significant: women are referred to transplant at a much later stage of disease than men; women are more likely to be living kidney donors, while the majority of recipients of kidneys are men. Some patients are not educated enough to realize their urgent need for medical care and organ transplantations.

Therefore, it is pivotal to identify these issues and improve the current organ transplantation situation so that patients have equal access to medical resources and care.


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