The hidden face of logistics

As we had the opportunity to see along all our posts, logistics is everywhere and forms part in many processes in a wide variety of sectors. As a consequence, the organs transplants are not an exception. Only in our country, more than 100.000 transplants had taken place since 1965 which is the year when this practice started. Time, as usually in logistics, plays an important role in a process where coordination between all the parts involved is crucial. The aim of this post is to give a basic idea of how it works the organs transplant and clarify the existent link between this and logistics.

In first place, the organs transplant is known as a complex medical treatment where organs, tissues or cells are transplanted from one person to other i.e. a damaged organ is substituted by one that functions correctly. The process starts when the donor has been diagnosed of encephalic death and a quick call has to be made to notify this fact so it is possible to start with the organization of the organs’ offer to the different transplant teams and prepare the operatives. There is a transplant coordinator who is responsible for providing the clinical, analytical and anthropometry data with the objective of facilitate the assessment of the possible use of the organs. All the data related with the steps of the transplant and the time that takes place is pointed in a dossier.

Video about organs transplants (1:52 – 3:45)

There are mainly four aspects where logistics is involved which are, in first place, the material means that are needed for the extraction of several organs, location of the personnel and coordination of the transport. Regarding the transport, the mechanism chosen for performing this task varies according the distance which is divided in:

  • Local donor: it is in the same city than the team on charge of the extraction and transplant but in different hospital. Therefore, the coordinator of the hospital organizes the displacement.
  • Short distance: sanitary cars or helicopters are used when the distance is lower than 200 km.
  • Long distance: private flight companies are hired and in some cases the air army realizes the transport. At least two hours are needed for preparing the flight so the coordination is essential between the hospitals involved and the ONT (National organization of transplants).

Secondly, it is important the preparation of the multiorgan extraction. The organ when is take from the body needs to be cooled, clean and preserved (the conditions will change in function of the organ or tissue). It is important to have a stock of the fluids used for the preservation, a sterile container and an isotainer for its transport. In addition, the third point consists on having good intrahospital coordination in the moment of the extraction. Moreover, the last step is based on the reposition of the stock.

material quirúrgico

Image 1: Surgical material needed for the organ transplant.

To sum up, the coordination of organs transplants involves a wide spectrum of aspects such as legal, clinical, organizational and human which takes place between hospitals and governmental institutions. There are evidences that point Spain as one of the countries with the most effective model of transplants. This success can be justified by the new surgical techniques and medical treatments together with an increase of organs donated. All this cannot be possible without logistics, which is responsible for the coordination of the transplant, the transport on time of the organ, the right stock repositioning, the use of a informatics system which is able of search information and channeling reports and requests for donor and transplant, among others.

 

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