New Zealand transplant surgeon Sue
McDiarmid has succeeded in pushing American politicians to
expand funding for a national organ transplant network in the
United States.

“We want the number of people dying while on the waiting list to
decrease,” Dr Sue McDiarmid, a past president of United Network
for Organ Sharing, a non-profit group that administers a national
organ transplant network, told the Fresno Bee newspaper.

The New Zealander has been a friend for more than 20 years of
Democrat politician Jim Costa, of Fresno, who sponsored the
legislation to more than triple federal funding for the network. It
maintains a national transplant waiting list and helps get donated
organs to the people who need them.

The money could be helpful in expanding the registry, said Mr
Costa, who met Dr McDiarmid when she did her paediatric residency in
Fresno during the early 1980s.

McDiarmid said after she approached the congressman, he set up
the Congressional Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Caucus, one
of many acutely focused and often bi-partisan collaborations in
Washington, to put together the political heft behind the new

The new law signed by President George Bush on Thursday (NZ time)
increased from $US2 million ($NZ3.3m) to $US7m federal funding for
the network.

The law was called the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Organ Transplant
Authorisation Act for one of Mr Costa’s former colleagues, Ohio
congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who died of a brain aneurysm on
August 20. She donated her organs and tissues, and they were used in
58 different patients.
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