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17% of public human tissue donations disposed

Posted October. 13, 2022 08:00,   

Updated October. 13, 2022 08:00


It is reported that 16.6 percent of bones, blood vessels, cartilage, and other human tissues donated to the government are known to be scrapped without being used. Mistakes or failure to abide by guidelines during the harvest or processing of human tissues often occur in the disposal of the tissues.

The Ministry of Public Health and Welfare unveiled the Disposition Form on Comprehensive Audit of the Korea Public Tissue Bank on October 12. According to the Health Ministry and Rep. Lee Jong-seong of the People Power Party, the bank harvested and processed 16,137 human tissues, including bones, amnion, fascia, blood vessels, cartilage, Achilles tendon from donated corpses and injured bodies, etc., over the last three and a half years since 2019. Most donations come from corpses, but some come from patients suffering from severe trauma treatment who have undergone amputation.

However, 16.6% (or 2,686) of the human tissue donations have been disposed of, and a significant portion of the cases was found to be caused by lack of care, such as failure to abide by guidelines. 1,413, which is more than half of the 2,686 disposals, involved problems in the harvesting, processing, and distribution stages.

There were cases in which mandatory blood tests had been omitted or packaging damaged during the harvesting process. Some had not abided by time requirements, failed to meet preservative solution requirements, or omitted test records. Several disposals also occurred after the human tissues were processed and distributed to hospitals.

The number of human tissue donations continues to drop while donations are being mismanaged. According to lawmaker Choi Young-hee of the People Power Party, human tissue donations declined from 414 in 2017 to 104 last year. The number of donations as of September this year is only 166. The Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a warning to the Korea Public Tissue Bank, pointing out mismanagement of human tissue, overtime work, double payment allowance, and violation of R&D fund guidelines as major areas for improvement.

Keun-Hyung Yoo noel@donga.com