Congressional Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Caucus Hosted Congressional Staff Meeting on April 29 to Spread the Truth Abou

WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 29, 2008, members of the American Society of Transplantation (AST), American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, National Kidney Foundation, and Donate Life America hosted a meeting with Congressional staffers in recognition of Donate Life Month. April is Donate Life Month, a time to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation and generate interest in making the commitment to saving lives.

Nearly 100,000 patients are listed on the national organ waiting list. Eighteen people die each day as they wait for suitable organs to become available. Potential donors may delay their decision to become an organ donor because of inaccurate and erroneous information about organ donation that is featured in the press, is the plot line for books, television shows and movies, and is circulated on the Internet.

David J. Cohen, MD, a member of the AST's Public Policy Committee and Medical Director of Columbia University Medical Center's Renal and Pancreatic Transplant Program discussed the importance of public trust in the transplant system and strategies for counteracting misleading information and improving access to transplantation. According to AST Public Policy Chairman, David Briscoe, MD, "The briefing offered a unique opportunity for staffers to learn the truth about organ donation from transplant experts."

Among the topic addressed were: patient access to transplantation, allocation of organs, attitudes toward transplantation, and the importance of funding the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act.

The Congressional Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Caucus is committed to increasing organ and tissue donation and raising awareness of the national organ shortage. The Caucus supports federal and private sector efforts to increase donation and transplantation, and to educate all Americans on the importance of becoming organ and tissue donors. The Caucus advocates on behalf of policy initiatives that improve and enhance the effectiveness of transplantation.

For more information about transplant issues, please visit http://www.a-s-t.org.

SOURCE American Society of Transplantation

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