I write to correct a number of inaccuracies in a Jan. 30 article on the tracking of anatomical gifts made through organ and tissue donation.
Despite suggestions made in the article, organ and tissue donation for transplant is heavily regulated in Maine. As the federally-designated nonprofit organ procurement organization serving Maine, New England Organ Bank is regulated and overseen by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Health Resources Services Administration.
Also, New England Organ Bank is accredited and inspected by two national organizations, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations and the American Association of Tissue Banks.
At the state level donation must comply with the legal provisions contained in the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, and organ and tissue recovery agencies are subject to a specific policy overseen by the Maine Attorney General's Office that requires annual filings.
Under both federal and state law it is a crime to buy or sell organs or tissues for transplantation. In fact, there is so much existing regulation of donation for transplant that other states that have looked at this issue specifically exclude organizations recovering organs and tissues for transplant from their legislation.
With 4,700 New Englanders currently waiting for a transplant and nearly 300 of them dying each year due to a lack of available organs, legislative efforts should be on saving lives rather than creating redundant bureaucracies.
Sean Fitzpatrick, Director, Public Affairs
New England Organ Bank