Patients urge Congress to reform organ transplant system

WASHINGTON, DC — More than 100,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill heard urgent pleas Tuesday to reform the process so patients aren’t left in limbo for years or indefinitely.

Around 33 Americans die every day waiting for an organ, according to the House panel.

Tonya Ingram was diagnosed with Lupus at 22-years-old and shared her story as she waits for a kidney transplant.

“My dream is to have a healthy body, a working kidney and a life that is mine,” said Ingram.

Ingram said she has a rare blood type and that means she could be waiting ten years to get the call that they’ve found a match.

“I’m waiting to live and I’m standing alongside more than 100,000 Americans, most of whom are waiting for kidneys, though others need hearts, lungs, livers and other organs,” said Ingram.

Patients urged Congress to push for more oversight of the transplant system.

There are 57 nonprofits responsible for securing organs from donors who have died in the U.S., known as organ procurement organizations.

“To Congress and the Biden administration, please remember that I am a person with a story before kidney failure and I’ll have a life after kidney failure,” said Ingram.

An emergency room doctor shared her story about being a rare living donor for her son.

Dr. Dara Kass said it’s something that’s out of reach for so many families, in part because of financial obstacles like not getting enough paid time off from work and having to manage multiple members of a family being in the hospital at the same time.

“Families without means or support or resources may not be able to pursue this route even if it’s medically possible,” Kass said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the organ most in need on the transplant list is the kidney, with more than 90,000 people waiting for one now.