September 10, 2022 – The United States recorded its 1 millionth organ transplant on Friday, 68 years after a man donated his kidney to his identical twin for the nation’s first organ transplant.
The milestone was announced at 12:50 p.m. Friday by the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit that has a government contract to run the country’s only transplant network. UNOS did not specify which organ was transplanted or provide other details.
The number of organ transplants has steadily increased since the first liver transplant in 1954 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, according to UNOS.
In 2021, 41,350 transplants have been performed, surpassing the 40,000 mark for the first time, and 22,414 transplants have taken place so far in 2022. Over 500,000 transplants have taken place since 2007.
UNOS has been criticized for the ineffectiveness of its programs.
In August, US members of a US Senate committee said UNOS was doing shoddy work tracking organ donations and transplants, an issue that hurts the poor and minorities the most and has caused deaths among people awaiting transplants, the Washington Post reported.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said UNOS should be replaced.
“You should lose this contract,” Warren said. “You shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the organ transplant system in this country.”
In a statement to The Post, UNOS said it was upset with the findings but remained “committed to working with Congress to improve the system, which saves more lives every year.”
A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology stated that many donated kidneys are unnecessarily discarded. The kidneys are the most requested organ for transplants.
UNOS says it has launched an initiative to make transplants more accessible to minorities and to use improved technology to track harvested organs and keep donated organs available longer.