Organ Wagons To Make House Calls

It might sound a little disturbing to some people but a new pilot program will attempt to recover kidneys from people who die at home in Manhattan.

A team of organ specialists will have about 20-minutes after a cardiac-arrest patient is declared dead to arrive at the home, check a donor registry, determine medical eligibility, obtain a family member’s consent and get the person into a specialized ambulance.

A special team will monitor 9-1-1 calls about people in danger of dying and they will travel directly to a person’s home without being summoned.

The program is being launched Wednesday. It could eventually lead to thousands more organs donated each year. But the five-month trial, a collaboration between Bellevue Hospital and New York City’s police and fire departments, could be declared a success without a single organ being recovered, organizers say.

It’s being called the Organ Donation Unit. It is being funded by a $1.5 million grant from the U. S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

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