Foreigners swell ranks of those who would be transplant donors

Expats who agreed to donate organs when they obtained residency might have a long wait.

The immigration department said that some 77,000 persons, all foreigners, have agreed to organ donation when they received their cédulas of residency. But the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said that there were only 454 transplants in public hospitals in 2012.

More than half were cornea transplants. But there also were 115 kidney transplants, five liver transplants and 18 bone and 55 bone marrow transplants.

Some 60 percent of the transplants are done at Hospital México in La Uruca. The Caja said that such an operation is a major undertaking with as many as six surgeons and sometimes two operating rooms if the donor is a living person. The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería said that it maintains a data base of possible donors. The data base is shared with the Caja.

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