Terry Box, M.D., is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah and a liver transplant hepatologist who received a liver transplant himself in 2022. Box is also a former member of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s Liver and Intestinal Organ Transplantation Committee. He recently authored an op-ed for MedPage Today, focused on the OPTN’s effective policy development process and the success of the current liver allocation policy.
Box pulled from his unique experiences as a physician, recipient and member the OPTN committee who voted for the acuity circles policy that the OPTN Board eventually adopted. Box also referred to OPTN data from a recent monitoring report, which shows that transplants from deceased donors increased by 5.1 percent since the policy was implemented and, as predicted, transplant rates increased for the sickest candidates. He goes on to point out that despite dire predictions by some, the majority of liver transplant programs experienced similar or higher transplant volume after the policy and no programs closed.
“Dissenting voices and differing opinions were essential. And ultimately, as the numbers attest, the process made the policy better… This data show that the sickest patients are indeed getting greater access to life-saving donor organs, and geographic inequities in organ allocation have been significantly reduced…As a physician and a patient, I implore our elected officials and my colleagues not to ignore this good news, but to use it, share it, and work together to make the system even better. Our patients deserve nothing less.”
Read Box’s March 11th op-ed.