Skip navigation
A. Organ Donations Rise, but Allocation Issues Persist

Narrator: This is Science Today. The Federal Department of Health and Human Services has announced that organ donations have increased during the first half of this year by almost four percent. But Dr. John Roberts, chief of transplant services at the University of California, San Francisco, says one of the biggest issues surrounding organ transplantation is still allocation.

Roberts: As the demand for transplantation increases, we're really left with these issues about how do we get organs distributed fairly or with justice?

Narrator: With limited resources, Roberts says a philosophy called triage often comes into play.

Roberts: Peacetime triage generally occurs in situations where you have enough of a resource, you just have to figure out who needs to go first. Where, wartime triage is you just say, I can't take care of this guy - let him die. That's sort of the battlefield triage kind of system and one that transplantation, particularly of the life-saving organs, heart and liver is sort of been moving toward.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.