My second national transplant organization visit was to the Organizacion Nacional des Trasplantes (ONT) in Madrid.  Spain has the highest rate of deceased donation in the world, attributed to its focus on developing in-hospital infrastructure that increases donor detection and a central transplant coordination office run by the ONT for organ allocation.  With these initiatives, Spain has been a leader in deceased donation and a donation model for countries with “young” transplant programs to emulate.  At the ONT headquarters, I had the opportunity to discuss Spanish transplant practices and challenges with the Medical Director of the ONT.  The following day, I was given a presentation at the Hospital Clinico San Carlos on Non Heart-Beating Donor practices in Spain, which utilize a different subset of NHBD donors unlike any other country in the world.  The physician that hosted me had been active in the ONT since its inception in 1989, and was able to attest to the changes in hospital practices with his experience regarding all types of deceased donors.  Hospital Clinico San Carlos is the top donation hospital by volume in all of Europe; I was placed “on-call” for any potential donors so my phone was kept close the whole week!  But alas, no such luck…

In the meantime, I was able to take time to sightsee in Madrid and exhausting my Frommer’s guide.  Between the sweeping Royal Palace (the largest in Europe), the incomparable Prado and Reina Sophia museums, the tranquil Retiro Park, and a myriad of bustling plazas, it was a fantastic week.  Additionally, I made sure to get my fill of chocolate con churros!

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