Monday, October 23, 2006
The United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the U.S. system for organ transplants, often does not detect or act on problems, a report says.The Los Angeles Times said it found that, in instances of high organ failure and death rates, UNOS routinely keeps quiet about findings of investigations, leaving patients and families in the dark.The Times conducted its own investigation of the little known agency. The newspaper said UNOS has had to deal with a rising number of life-threatening lapses at facilities it oversees over the past year. The Times said after it uncovered failures at two centers in California, both programs suddenly closed. The Times said it often takes a year or more for UNOS to take action when increasing failures occur. Also, UNOS officials have been missing signs of trouble, including transplant center statistics on its own Web site, the newspaper said. UNOS, headquartered in Richmond, Va., receives $2 million from the federal government and about $23 million in fees from transplant centers annually.