Is the Probability of Survival for A Liver Transplant Dependent on the Patient's Choice of Hospital?
People who need a liver transplant must choose a hospital at which the transplant will be performed. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) allocates organs to patients based on patient characteristics and assumes all hospitals have equal skill. The question for a patient thus becomes, which hospital to choose? This thesis investigates whether the differences in liver transplant survival rates for hospitals are a result of differences in patients and/or differences in hospital-specific criteria.
The findings in this thesis show that most of the differences in hospital survival rates are due to patient characteristics, and that, while not conclusive, hospital characteristics may have an impact on survival rates. However, the variable that is most significant to survival rates is the cold ischemic time, or transportation time of the organ. These results suggest that policies to allocate organs nationally are not optimal.