Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Parts Is Parts

Organ donations have been the news recently. Most alarmingly, the new policy in Great Britain that allows hospitals to take organs without consent. This is wrong on more than one level, but without getting into these specifics at this time I want to propose an alternative: Organ selling.

For starters, let's talk kidneys.
Currently, sixteen people die in the United States every day while awaiting a kidney transplant. Good kidneys are not, and should not be, rare to find. Everybody is born with two good ones, and only one kidney is necessary to sustain life.So,yeah, there's all these spare parts walking around and no really good reason for sixteen deaths everyday.
The issue then, is not one of limited supply, but one of supply and demand. Generally, some healthy soul assumes room temperature, and then the medical staff comes out, like vultures circling a fresh kill, and attempts to persuade the grieving family to part with some parts:
"So sorry your child is dead. Can we have this?"
"Before we pull the plug, we want something for nothin."

If families, or even individuals, were allowed to sell their kidneys, more kidneys would become available. Money is a great motivator. How many surviving families could be benefitted if they could get a sizable lump of cash after Daddy dies in a tragic accident,leaving his kids without the support of a father? Or, somebody struggling in poverty could offer up one of their spare kidneys to somebody with the means to save themselves while also helping out another?

Now, before you go and turn all "Two Americas" on me about how 'the rich' will benefit off 'the poor', let me inform you: our current system of donation already favors the wealthy and the famous. Celebrities routinely move to the front of the organ line. This is not a not a secret to the mildly informed. And the wealthy, but not so famous, travel to third world nations like India to receive organs on the open market.

I don't know about you, but if a family member could procure an organ for a price, I wouldn't hesitate to drain my savings and mortgage my home to save their life.
Add in the charity factor of neighbors, co-workers, or church groups, and nobody will go without.
As it stands now, I am forbidden from doing so as I do not have the means to go abroad, or a government that will allow this basic freedom.

Right here, right now, in what is bragged of as the freest of nations, everybody makes money from organ donations except for the supplier of the organs. We need to change this.

Sure, we could adopt the European-socialist-serfdom model that says you and your body are not your own, but wards of the state instead, to serve a greater good according to, and defined by, the The Powers.
Or we could solve our organ shortage in a manner that respects individual freedoms and personal sovereignty.


Brian said...

Preach it!

Palm boy said...

It does become a dicey issue when discussing such things as eyeballs, but I'm sure the dead don't care.

I've been a fan of this concept for a while, and the new UK policy disgusted me when I read about it.

Guitarman said...

Good Blog. Godd Idea. Good luck trying to get a lawmaker to take this up. Maybe you could get it written into the Repulican Party platform next time your state does Caucasing? Did I spell that right?

Gino said...

thanks fellas.
the hallelujah chorus is always appreciated, almost as much as disagreement.

Jade said...

Selling organs... that makes me picture less-than-noble family members pulling the plug on people so they can profit from the spare parts.

Also, I have a feeling that the health insurance company policies - and their collective fear of paying for such a high end operation - has more to do with the rich getting to the head of the line for any medical procedure rather than just availability of parts. Celebrities can pay out of pocket, so while the regular insured folks are wading through the red tape of consultations and third opinions, the rich scoot on in and plop themselves on the operating tables.

Gino said...

jade:just like today, family members are not given the authority to pull the plug unless the jig is up. i dont expect that to change.

i dont know what role an insurance company can play in how soon you get the organ.
as for celebrities: the organ gods (cant remember what they are really called) justify it on the basis of positive publicity for organ donations. ever notice: when a celeb gets a new organ, it's in the media within hours? its not the celeb calling it in to the press, but the organ gods.

non celeb millionaires just go to india and pay out of pocket. they get no special treatment from the gods.

Strolling Amok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Strolling Amok said...

I'm betting that advancements in individual organ cloning will make this argument irrelevant long before anyone could ever get the political support to change our current laws. See this blog for and idea or where we are heading: http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/
Interesting discussion though.