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'Redistricting' Considered for Liver Donor Maps

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2013

"They knew that the cold storage time had an impact on the outcome of the transplant so they didn't want to be pulling organs from one part of the country in those days and putting them in on the other coast into their patients. They tried to develop systems or regions so that organs when they were recovered by the organ procurement organizations as they were being developed could get placed into the patients on the transplant lists that were closest in proximity to get the best possible outcome," Mulligan explains.

"As the success of organ transplant continued, we could see that the ability for preserving these organs improved, the ability to do the transplants improved, the outcomes improved, and more and more centers started to perform liver transplants and there became a need for a more developed and complex way of trying to approve the allocation for these organs to get to their patients."  

Dorry L. Segev, MD, an associate professor of surgery and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is the author of a report that examines the use of mathematical formulas to create a more equitable distribution, which he calls "gerrymandering for the public good."

"We have applied to transplantation the same math used for political redistricting, school assignments, wildlife preservation and zoning issues," Segev said in a media release. His report was published this month online in the American Journal of Transplantation.

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