Los Angeles Times

In a turf battle for organs, a policy review rattles the national transplant system

Tethered to a breathing machine at a Manhattan hospital, 21-year-old Miriam Holman would die without a lung transplant. But her odds of finding a suitable organ were especially low in New York, where waiting times are among the longest in the country.

Just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, patients in far better condition routinely receive lungs much more quickly. Pockets of the South and Midwest also have dramatically shorter waiting times.

The disparities stem from a principle that has always guided the national transplant system: local first. Most organs stay in the areas where they are donated, even if sicker patients are waiting elsewhere.

But a federal judge's recent emergency order in a lawsuit by Holman is threatening to upend decades of organ transplant policy and force places with a relative abundance of organs to start sharing more of them.

With too few donors to meet the demand - last year there were 33,610 transplants while 12,412 patients died on waiting lists or were removed from consideration because

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