In December 1998 Phil Lesh had a liver transplant.
His surgery and recovery were a huge success. We owe thanks to the Mayo Clinic (in Jacksonville, FL, one of the best transplant clinics in the country), Dr. Steers (innovator in techniques of liver transplants and chief surgeon for Phil's surgery), the HVC Global Foundation (grassroots Hepatitis awareness organization), the loving family and their deceased who made the organ donation, and to the fans and family who came together with love and healing energy.
we thank Phil Lesh for remaining comitted to raising our awareness of
organ donorship and other health issues related to Hepatitis.
If you're having trouble coming up with something, borrow from Phil's
For more information, please visit our links below:
Phil Lesh - Donor Awareness Rap
Santa Barbara County Bowl, 8/22/99
Santa Barbara, CA
I'd like to thank you all for coming out tonight, we've been having a great time on this tour. It's unfortunate this is the last one - we've been having a really good time.
I'd like to speak to you all about something kind of serious. I'm only here because I had an organ transplant earlier (the end of last year) and the people who were noble and generous enough to OK the organ donorship of one of their loved ones had to go through a really traumatic experience.
I encourage everyone who is interested in becoming an organ donor and really has a desire to give in the case of their demise not only to become an organ donor, and not only put the stamp on their driver's license, but to notify your family.
you and are close to you (who will be completely traumatized, it will be a tragic occasion). If you have written out something for them saying "I really want to be an organ donor just in case of my untimely death". Then that would make that decision so much easier for them.
So all I can say is I bless the folks that did it for me. Please be an organ donor and give blood. Thank you.
- In a major effort to increase organ donation, federal officials are
devising a national organ donor card that they hope will make clear potential
donors wishes.THE IDEA is to give transplant coordinators a stronger
case for proceeding with donation, regardless of a familys
Transplant Network Aims to Ensure Organs Get to Sick
By Laura Meckler
Nov. 16, 2000 The nations organ transplant network is set to approve new rules for distributing scarce livers aimed at making sure the sickest patients are truly at the top of the waiting list. But the proposal being considered does nothing to break down geographic barriers that keep most organs in the communities where they are donated, even if theres someone sicker in the next city or state over.
Rather, it would create a more precise scale for determining how sick waiting patients are, allowing the network to direct more livers to the sickest patients.
The United Network for Organ Sharing, which is expected to endorse the new plan today, must submit its proposal to the Department of Health and Human Services for approval. HHS officials, who have been demanding more sweeping changes, said they are prepared to accept the proposal, at least for now.
Supply and Demand Woes
The problem comes down to supply and demand. In 1999, there were 4,698 liver transplants performed, but 1,753 people died waiting. More than 16,000 liver patients are waiting today. Transplant centers, which depend on a reliable stream of donated organs to run their programs, also have an interest in maximizing the number of organs that come their way.
A network committee considered 17 plans for sharing livers over broader areas and a majority concluded that none of them would save a substantial number of lives, said Dr. Richard Freeman, a liver surgeon at Tufts University who chaired the committee.
I really think this whole business of broader sharing is the wrong thing to be focusing on. It helps some but it disadvantages others, he said. Its so divisive, its so unproductive, its so ridiculous. Its a waste of time.
One proposal, he explained, would have saved only about 20 lives per year, which he called a drop in the bucket. But broader sharing is what the HHS has been pushing since early 1998, when Secretary Donna Shalala dramatically declared that patients are dying simply because of where they live. After Shalala issued her regulations directing the network to break down geographic barriers, HHS and the transplant network plunged into outright battle over the best way to distribute organs.
In the end, it appeared as if HHS had won. Its regulations took effect after several congressionally imposed delays. And faced with competition for the job of distributing organs, the network agreed to a new contract that spelled out every detail of the regulation.
Now the network is required to submit a new plan for distributing livers, and it has stuck with its initial position against breaking down sometimes arbitrary geographic lines, much to the dismay of some patient groups.
Skirting the Issue?
New system seeks to end struggle over how the scarce resources are allocated. Full Senate approval seen soon, then meetings with House.
By MARLENE CIMONS, LA Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON April 13, 2000 -The Clinton administration has crafted an agreement with key senators on legislation to revamp the nation's organ transplant system, pointing the way toward an end to the contentious two-year struggle over who decides how these precious resources are distributed, senators and administration officials said Wednesday.
The compromise measure, hammered out late Tuesday night among administration officials and Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), was approved unanimously Wednesday by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. It will be sent to the full Senate for a vote after next week's congressional spring break, where it is expected to be approved.
The legislation differs, however, from the House bill passed last week--a version President Clinton has promised he would veto--and differences will have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference committee. The Senate bill "will help to balance the difficult ethical and medical decisions that accompany decisions about how organs are distributed," said Frist, who was a transplant surgeon before being elected to the Senate.
The compromise, he said, "is in the best interest of all patients because it focuses on developing new policies based on scientific data, medical principles and equity."
Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said that the compromise, if enacted, "would provide a sound foundation for moving toward a better, fairer" system. She acknowledged that "no single party achieved everything it wanted" with the Senate bill but that it represents "a day-and-night improvement" over the House measure.
But the House Commerce Committee, which wrote the House version, called the Senate bill "misguided" and a thinly disguised White House plan to give Shalala more authority. Committee Chairman Thomas J. Bliley (R-Va.) remains "committed to providing the best protection for organ transplant patients," it said.
The Senate legislation skirts the most divisive issue: the argument over how to distribute scarce organs. But it sets up a mechanism to resolve fights between the federal government and the United Network for Organ Sharing, the private contractor that runs the system, by establishing a panel of outside experts to mediate future disputes.
The current controversy arose over the administration's attempt to change the organ network's policy of distributing organs in local areas first before offering them regionally and then nationally. Shalala's department sought to ensure that the sickest patients received organs first, regardless of where they live.
The House bill, siding with the network, would remove transplant oversight from HHS and give it to the network. Under the Senate bill, however, the outside panel would have the authority to make final decisions on policy, based on guidelines set into the law. The panel--made up of 21 experts, such as surgeons, clinical researchers and medical ethicists--would be chosen by the HHS secretary, the transplant network and the Institute of Medicine. Moreover, those guidelines would require development of a policy that would seek to reduce disparities in access that result from geography--a requirement representing a compromise with the administration, which sought to eliminate the disparities.
The Senate bill essentially would permit the organ network to write allocation policy but would permit the committee of experts to intervene if the government disagrees with the private contractor. The panel would have the final word, based on the guidelines. "This is not an easy issue to wrestle with--there aren't any evil people involved in this who are trying to do bad things," said Mark Rosenker, the network's managing director and assistant executive director for external affairs. "Everybody wants to do the right thing. We all just have different ways of getting there."
The issue has commanded increasing attention at a time when the nation is experiencing a crucial shortage of organs. Every day, according to medical estimates, 12 Americans die while waiting for an organ, and about 68,000 people are waiting for transplants at any given time.
Doctors look for liver transplant alternatives
Then Dr. Marlon Levy, a transplant surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center, offered an alternative: a procedure using a dead pig's liver. But not a liver from an ordinary pig. "They're genetically modified to try to prevent a reaction between the human blood and the pig liver," Levy said.
used as a filter
yet for human livers
liver also gives patients hope