The Checkup: Organ Donation Hampered By Obesity

The organ-donor pool is shrinking because waistlines aren't.

• The New York Times ran a somber little piece yesterday about how organ-transplant centers are struggling as potential donors are being turned away because of their weight. Over half of these centers have rules requiring donors to have BMI scores under 35, and 10 percent are even stricter, saying they have to be under 30. The result is a fair number of potential donors being turned away from the programs—this, at a time when organ donation is seriously suffering. One doctor reports that of the 104 potential live organ donors who contacted his hospital in the last three years, 23 were morbidly obese; only three lost weight so they could participate in the program. The fear is that obese people may have a higher risk for complications in the years post-surgery, so many transplant centers aren’t willing to take them on. But some doctors are calling for less stringent rules to allow larger patients to participate in the programs.

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