In the midst of the pandemic, 35 ALS patients donated their organs, giving life to at least 70 people

The pandemic has not only affected, from the health point of view, the patients of the covid. Its damage has expanded in each ailment, which were parked to attend the avalanche of infections. It happened with cancer patients, with cardiovascular disease, with those who suffer from a mental disorder … and also for those who need an organ. In 2020, a thousand fewer transplants were performed than the previous year, with 23% fewer donations registered.

The cause must be sought, fundamentally, in the saturation of the emergency services and critical care units during the different waves of the pandemic. It should not be forgotten that donations are made in those departments, precisely those that were saturated by covid patients.

In the last year, donations and transplants have increased, although without reaching pre-pandemic levels

There were not enough beds, nor were health professionals, since most of the donation teams are intensivists and were fully treating covid cases, explains the director of the National Transplant Organization (ONT), Beatriz Domínguez-Gil, within the framework of the XVII national meeting of Transplant Coordinators and Communication Professionals.

But, despite all the difficulties and obstacles that the pandemic has put over and over again, the reality is that donation and transplantation activities have continued, between waves, and with force, explains Domínguez Gil. A clear proof is that during 2020, 35 ALS patients who saw death nearby donated their organs, allowing the lives of at least 70 people.

Eight people who have requested euthanasia have offered to donate their organs, two have already done so

Since 2013, the number of ALS patients who have donated their organs upon death has risen to 124, with 315 being transplanted patients.

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“Spanish society trusts donation and when the covid has given a truce, the activity shoots up to prendemic levels. We hope that in 2021, the situation will improve and, especially, in 2022 “, says the director of the ONT.

This entity continues to work to increase donations and transplants, seeking new formulas for this, such as improvements in donations in asystole and the collaboration of private hospitals. Also, the search for possible donors such as those requesting euthanasia.

In fact, to date, eight patients who have requested euthanasia have asked to donate their organs. Two have already done so.