Major Change In How Donated Livers Are Allocated For Transplant Allowed To Move Ahead By Judge
The new distribution plan gives more weight to the medical status of critically ill patients waiting for transplant, moving away from a previous system influenced by geography. The federal government approved the policy change in December 2018, but it has not been implemented during court challenges. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg in Atlanta called the case "difficult and wrenching" in her decision not to permanently block the new rules.
The Washington Post:
Federal Judge Allows New Liver Transplant Policy To Take Effect
A federal judge has cleared the way for a new method of distributing livers to transplant patients, a plan that will shift more of the scarce organs to people in metropolitan areas where demand is highest and away from some rural regions where they are easier to obtain. In a case she called “difficult and wrenching,” U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg refused Thursday to permanently block new rules for allocating livers that were approved by the federal government in December 2018. In response to a lawsuit, she temporarily halted the plan in May while she considered a request for a permanent injunction. (Bernstein, 1/17)
Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Ruling Deals Blow To Georgia Liver Transplant Hospitals, Patients
Georgia liver patients may see fewer livers and organs of lower quality available for transplant within weeks following a significant legal ruling over how the U.S. allocates donated livers. There are not enough liver donors to supply all the patients who need them, and different regions of the country fight over whether the government is fairly distributing the scarce livers available. The federal government has proposed a change to the distribution system that it says would be fairer, but the likely losers would be states including Georgia. They sued. (Hart, 1/16)