Young sponsors bipartisan LOST Organs Act

Bipartisan legislation offered on July 20 by U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) aims to improve the operation of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network so that lifesaving organs don’t get lost in transport.

“One lost organ is one too many,” Sen. Young said, noting that 17 people die each day while on the organ transplant waiting list, while another 13 are removed from the waiting list because they’ve become too sick to receive a transplant. 

“In total, there are more than 100,000 Americans on the organ donation waiting list today, including nearly 1,200 in my home state of Indiana,” he said.

The Lost Opportunities to Supply Transplantable (LOST) Organs Act of 2023, S. 2404, which is cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), would require that the organ donation system managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) improves how it tracks organs and to publicly report when logistics errors result in lost, damaged, or delayed organs, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Young’s staff.

In the event that an organ is lost, damaged, or delayed, an open and transparent process would be established under S. 2404 to determine the cause, potential corrective action, and recommendations to prevent it from happening again, the summary says.

“The LOST Organs Act would create greater transparency and accountability so that these critical organs aren’t getting lost, damaged, or delayed in transit,” Sen. Young said.

The senator cited data from Kaiser Health News and Reveal showing that roughly seven percent of shipments handled by UNOS from July 2014 to November 2019 encountered transportation problems and UNOS did not begin formally tracking transportation errors until 2016.

“While thousands of lives in America are saved through transplants annually, transportation failures, outdated technology, and a lack of oversight have put patient lives at risk,” said Sen. Cardin. “We must do a better job for patients and their families. The LOST Organs Act would require the U.S. organ transplant system to modernize organ transportation tracking to ensure patients receive their organ transplants quickly and safely.”

The measure has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.