Memorial Hermann Stops Transplant Program

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Cente
Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center | Image by UT Physicians

The Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center located in Houston has halted its liver transplant program following the discovery of irregularities in donor acceptance criteria.

The decision comes after a series of revelations regarding discrepancies within the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) transplant information database. An investigation has been launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The irregularities are purportedly centered around the age and weight criteria of deceased donors. These are crucial factors in determining the suitability of livers for transplantation. For instance, obese individuals tend to have fatty build-ups in the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis and other severe health conditions.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, obesity has become such a widespread issue that it has become a greater threat to global public health than hunger. CDC data indicates that 1 in 5 American adults was obese in 2022. In Texas, some 35.5% of adults and 17% of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are purportedly obese.

In a statement shared with Fox 26 Houston, Memorial Hermann affirmed that the move to deactivate the program was made voluntarily to uphold its patient safety and well-being standards. It has begun its own investigation of the irregularities, stressing that they are specific to the liver transplant program alone.

“Memorial Hermann’s investigation is continuing, and we are cooperating fully with all regulatory oversight agencies. We are also working with all impacted patients and families individually to ensure that they have the care and support that they need,” the medical center said.

According to data from the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network, Memorial Hermann’s liver transplant program facilitated 30 liver transplants last year and two this year. A total of 39 individuals are registered on Memorial Hermann’s liver donation wait list.

While California led all other states with 1,084 liver transplants in 2022, Texas came in second with 895, per Statista.

Only a third of livers used in transplants come from ideal donors. Yet, guidance from the University of California San Francisco suggests that this does not mean transplants from non-ideal donors necessarily lead to health issues. A patient at a higher risk of dying might be encouraged to accept a non-ideal liver if no better option becomes available. There is a considerable wait time for organs on the National Transplant List, with an estimated 17 people dying each day due to their inability to obtain a donated organ.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article