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article imageGermany seeks help from Spain on organ transplant systems

By Anne Sewell     Jun 18, 2013 in Health
Berlin - In the wake of a series of scandals rocking Germany involving data manipulation of organ waiting lists, a delegation of doctors and government officials from Germany's DSO transplant organization are seeking help from Spain.
There have apparently been more than 30 cases of data manipulation concerning organ transplants at the University Clinic in Goettingen, Germany.
According to the head of Spain's National Transplant Organization (ONT), Rafael Matesanz, the German government has ordered a leading lawyer to review and overhaul organ donation systems in Germany.
The lawyer contacted Spain to analyze the Spanish model to see which aspects could be useful in the German operation.
"They can't change their system overnight but they can adapt many of the concepts that we've developed and try to modify them to help them improve," Matesanz said.
"It's important for a country like Germany, which has always operated its transplant system independently, to come to Spain because we are a leader in this area."
An official from the ONT assured the Spanish newspaper El Imparcial, "In Spain, the process of donation and transplant waiting lists are completely transparent."
Germany's system varies widely from Spain's, as it relies on the cooperation of the various German federal states, along with the procurement of organs through the DSO and their distribution, which is done via a company called Eurotransplant.
However in Spain, the ONT is responsible for both the procurement and transplantation of not just organs but also other tissues and cells, while in Germany these are handled separately by "many different private companies." Reportedly the German Ministry of Health is not involved in the process.
"We have urged them to change in this regard," said Matesanz.
He added: "Spain was the first country where the department of health got involved with transplants and, after 25 years of working well it has proven to be effective."
The visit by the German delegation to Spain was led by the President of the DSO, Rainer Hess; the director general of the DSO, Thomas Biet; the Director of the transplant program of the Ministry of health of the Federal Government, Angelika Huck; the medical director of the DSO in the State of Bavaria, Thomas Breidenbach; the regional coordinator of transplants of Bavaria, Hans Neft; and the head of the University Hospital Essen, Gernot Kaiser transplant program.
Matesanz has been invited by the German delegation to visit Berlin to explain the transplant model used by Spain to the federal parliament, and the possibilities of adapting it to the German health system.
More about Spain, Germany, organ transplants, DSO, national transplant organization
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