This is, by far, the most common question I’m asked about why I’m speaking out against the current state of the tissue industry. The answer is simple:
1) Honesty/Full Disclosure. Families must be given the opportunity to learn more about the specific procedures that may be done. Instead of a simple ‘do you consent for the procurement of skin’ the families need to be told ‘There are a few different possibilities for how your loved one’s skin may be procured. Would you like to learn more about the different possibilities or would you prefer to consent or decline consent without learning more about the specifics? If the families choose to learn the specifics, the procedures must be explained in a way the family can understand.
2) Choice – Medical vs. Cosmetic. Families need to be given the opportunity to choose between donating tissues for medical need and cosmetic purposes.
3) Choice – For-Profit or Not-For-Profit. Families must have the ability to choose whether their loved one’s tissues are processed and sold by a for-profit processor or are processed by not-for-profit processor.
4) Tracking. Every piece of tissue bought, sold, or used must be given a bar code that can be used to track the tissue back to the processor and donor. That way, if there are safety concerns, the recipients of the tissue can be located and contacted. It is absolutely absurd that these things can’t be tracked! We can find out who bought infant car seats that are recalled but we have no way of tracking human tissues for transplant.