U.S. Army to ID potential organ donors

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U.S. Army to ID potential organ donors

In a boon to Koreans on organ transplant waiting lists, donations from brain-dead patients at the U.S. Army hospital in Korea are expected to increase starting this year.

The U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (Meddac)-Korea, which includes the U.S. Army Hospital in Yongsan and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday stating that U.S. Army hospitals and medical centers in Korea will report all brain-dead patients and make it possible for their organs to be donated to Koreans on transplant waiting lists nationwide.

“The U.S. Army Meddac-Korea generously agreed to this, in the hopes of continuing friendly bilateral ties between Korea and the U.S.,” said an official at Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Organ donation will still depend on the approval of soldiers’ family members or designated guardians. Where it is granted, the brain-dead patients will be moved to a hospital-based organ procurement organization, or Hopo, where appropriate organ matches will be scheduled through the Korea Network for Organ Sharing (Konos).

Hopos include the Seoul National University Hospital, Severance Hospital, Asan Hospital and Samsung Hospital.

Although individual organ donations by U.S. Army soldiers were possible in the past, this is the first time the U.S. Meddac-Korea has made it mandatory for their hospitals to report all brain-dead patients to Konos.

Konos said it will also conduct a yearly education session on organ donation for U.S. Army soldiers.

By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
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