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Organ transplant businesses receiving less donations during pandemic

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Organ donations cannot be accepted if the individual has had COVID-19 in the last 28 days. This rule is impacting a local organ donation company.

Doctor Gary Marklin, chief medical and research officer of Mid America Transplant, said the company receives 25% of its organ donations from CoxHealth and Mercy in Springfield.

Mid America went from receiving 20 donations a month to eight.

“I mean, basically the whole transplantation industry slowed down,” said Marklin. “The donations stopped, literally stopped for almost two months.”

Marklin said there were a few different reasons the industry was forced to stop and reevaluate, such as every person receiving a new organ would need access to an ICU bed.

“They were afraid with the pandemic all the ICU beds would be filled with covid patients and there would be nowhere to put the recipient,” said Marklin.

As the pandemic goes on, Marklin said Mid America Transplant will do research case studies.

“There have been cases in which people have had covid-19 previously that were transplanted, and there’s no documented cases of transmission of the disease after someone has had COVID-19 in the past,” said Marklin.

Marklin said he is researching the effects beyond just contracting the disease between patients.

“The COVID-19 virus can affect the organs, can cause scarring in the lung and on some autopsy cases,” said Marklin. “You can find it on the liver and some of the other organs.”

While research continues, each transplant business and hospital will need to use its best judgment.

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