VICE PRESIDENT GORE Helping Transplant Patients and Their Families
Vice President Gore has been a leader in organ and tissue transplant policy for many years. His efforts began in 1982, when a Tennessee family sought his help to find a liver donor for their seriously ill child. In 1983 and 1984, then-Congressman Gore chaired a series of hearings on transplantation, and authored the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984. This law set national transplant policy. It established a national organ-sharing system overseen by the organ procurement and transplantation network (OPTN); a nationwide network of organ procurement organizations (OPOs); a scientific registry; and, a government office of organ transplantation. The act also prohibited the buying and selling of human organs and tissues.
In 1986, then-Senator Gore authored a second transplant act. This law expanded the authority of the OPTN; set federal standards for OPOs; required all hospitals to notify OPOs of potential organ donors and to make the families of such donors aware of the option of organ donation; and provided for Medicare payment for immunosuppressive drugs essential to transplant recipients.
In 1990, then-Senator Gore helped author the Transplant Amendments of 1990, further strengthening the national system and establishing the National Bone Marrow Registry to help match bone marrow donors and recipients.