Nationwide media reports of fraud in the “body parts business” — the for-profit processing and sale of donated cadaver tissue — successfully exposed unethical practices, but also may have made families more reluctant to authorize organ donation. Through early education, however, pediatricians can dispel these misperceptions.

“Everybody wants to be a transplant recipient — nobody wants to be an organ donor. You see an article like that (

Hedges SJ, Gaines W.
Chicago Tribune
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) and you say, ‘That’s why I don’t want to sign my organ donor papers, because I don’t want my organs sold,’” said Frederick C. Ryckman, M.D., FAAP, director, liver transplant surgery, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati.

The need for pediatric donor organs is critical. Data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS, www.unos.org) show 280 children ages birth to 17 years are registered on the wait list...

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