Archive for July 8, 2019

More organ donors mean less expensive transplant procedure- doctors

By Yolanda Sotelo

DAGUPAN CITY – Kidney disease is the 7th leading killer in the country, but lack of organ donors and the high cost of transplant which could bring relief and extend the patients’ lives, is still out of reach for Filipinos.

The first hindrance is the prohibitive cost of transplant, said Dr. Francisco Sarmiento, program manager of the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing (PhilNOS), during an organ and tissue sharing advocacy campaign on Tuesday at the Region I Medical Center.

While the PhilHealth provides P600,000 for the transplantation procedure, the expenses for the operation could reach from P1 million to P1.5 million, with the patient shouldering the balance of from  P600,000-P900,000.

This does not include the cost of immunosuppression (anti-rejection) medicines which the patient would need to take for life after the operation. The anti-rejection medicines cost from P30,000-P40,000 monthly during the first year.

Organ donation advocates are doing costing analysis for pre, during and after operation of kidney transplant patients, that hopefully would be included in the Universal Health Care.

Another major issue that organ-donation advocates face is the lack of organ donors as Filipinos refuse to talk about donating parts of their body when they die. There is also the culture of reverence for the dead loved ones.

“But we will all die anyway, and it would be best if even in death, we contribute to extending the lives of others,” Sarmiento, who has signed documents that all his organs be donated when he dies, said.

There are around 100 patients waiting for kidney donors in the country and 25,000 organ donation card bearers, he said.

He said the high cost of the procedure may go down if there are more donors, “because of economics of scale.”

 While waiting for donors, the kidney patients undergo dialysis, an expensive procedure. Sadly, when a donor becomes available, they have run out of funds for the operation.

The PhilNOS also has a list of persons who signified their intention to donate their organs, but when the time comes, their families are still consulted if they would agree to the donation.

There are three types of organ donors, Rehana Pallingayan, head of RIMC’s organ procurement organization. (RIMC is the first and only government kidney transplant facility in northern Luzon and has transplanted 17 patients since 2012.)

These are the living related donors, living non-related donors and deceased donors.

When a person is brain-dead, that person is dead even if his or her heart is still beating, Pallingayan said.

She said end-stage renal disease patients who are qualified to have transplant, could go to the RIMC organ procurement unit for orientation.

But the unit does not provide donors and patients must bring their own donors and “we will orient them, teach them what they need to know if they become your donor.”

Also, she said potential donors of organs, other than kidney, can be referred to the unit.


July 8, 2019 at 9:48 pm Leave a comment

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