First Coast News
by Heather Crawford
As opioids claim more lives, doctors say they are seeing an uptick in lifesaving organ transplants. Opioid addiction is a growing health epidemic. Last year, opioid deaths increased 55 percent to 64,000 deaths in the U.S. "You know in the past, people were sometimes reluctant to use these as donors because of concerns either with regards to organ quality or with regards to risk of transmission," said Dr. Kristopher Croome, a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Croome said often times, however, the victims of opioid deaths are often young and otherwise healthy. He also said he is seeing first-hand an impact the opioid epidemic is having. "I think now, it's about 25 percent of our transplants are coming from people with drug-related deaths," he said. "So you know, we were doing probably close to 400 transplants a year, so that's about 100 extra people that received organs because of it."
Reach: First Coast News refers to three television stations in Jacksonville, Florida. WJXX, the ABC affiliate; WTLV, the NBC affiliate; and WCWJ, the CW affiliate.
Context: Kristopher Croome, M.D. is a Mayo Clinic surgeon who is affiliated with Mayo's liver transplant program and transplant center. Mayo Clinic is the largest integrated transplant provider in the United States. Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota include more than 150 surgeons and physicians and hundreds of allied health staff who are trained in caring for transplant patients. Mayo Clinic's multidisciplinary team of experts is trained in many specialties, including cardiology, cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, hepatology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology, hematology, reconstructive surgery, endocrinology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, dermatology, urology and infectious diseases.
Contact: Paul Scotti