President Barack Obama on Monday urged Congress to make the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) animal welfare efforts more transparent, as well as provide help to vets recovering from organ transplantation complications.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Obama asked for “the right tools” to help veterans with organ transplants and said “any federal action that doesn’t provide immediate, meaningful help to those affected will only make matters worse.”
While Obama urged Vilsacks department to get more involved in animal welfare issues, the White House said that he had not ordered an investigation into the transplantations.
Obama wrote in his letter that the “humanitarian crisis” was “far too severe to be left to the private sector.”
“As you know, it has been estimated that nearly half of the estimated 1.2 million U.s. veterans who have received organs from foreign donors may not even be able to use them,” he wrote.
“We must do everything in our power to help these veterans recover from organ donation complications and ensure that we never see the same situation again,” Obama wrote.
In December, a Virginia man who received a kidney transplant from a donor in Germany was told by his doctor that his kidney had been destroyed.
In an interview with ABC News, he said the transplant was a mistake.
In February, the United States announced that it would no longer accept organ donations from overseas after a study showed that a majority of organ transplanted to Americans in the past decade had been from people who had been living abroad.
The U.K. government also announced that its parliament would take action to ban the sale of organs from donors who are from outside the European Union.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that the transplants in the U, S. and Canada were not as efficient as those transplanted in other countries, and that the risks of complications were greater.
As part of his push to improve the quality of organ donations, Obama has called on Congress to give a $10 million boost to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help vet and transplant surgeons.
Since January, the NIH has been receiving $9.4 billion in funding.
The NIH’s Office of Transplantation is the primary agency for organ transplantations in the United State, with $5.9 billion in budget and $2.7 billion in grants.
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