By Noushaba T. Rashid

There are official rules that govern face and hand transplants. However, just because you may sign up to be an organ donor on your driver’s license does not automatically sign you up to be a face and hand donor.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which is a nonprofit group under contract with the Federal Government to allocate organs has been facilitating these special kinds of transplants for many years. However, with no formal policy, it has been a difficult process, as told by Dr. Sue McDiarmid, who is the chair of the Vascularized Composite Allograft Transplantation Committee.

These new rules will go in to effect in July 3. It will treat face and hand transplants like other transplants with hopes of boosting the number of procedures nationwide and making it mainstream.

“There are more of these procedures being done in the United States,” McDiarmid said, explaining the need for an official policy that clarifies the consent process. Now, “if there appears to be a potential donor that is interested or has stated ahead of time that they specifically would be interested in donating… we can go forward with that.”
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