User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 34

  1. #1

    Default To Legalize Kidney Sales... or not.

    Why Selling Kidneys Should Be Legal

    On Thursday, I will donate one of my kidneys to someone I’ve never met. Most people think this sounds like an over-the-top personal sacrifice. But the procedure is safe and relatively painless. I will spend three days in the hospital and return to work within a month. I am 21, but even for someone decades older, the risk of death during surgery is about 1 in 3,000. My remaining kidney will grow to take up the slack of the one that has been removed, so I’ll be able do everything I can do now. And I’ll have given someone, on average, 10 more years of life, years free of the painful and debilitating burden of dialysis.

    If kidney donation is this easy, why do the stereotypes about heroic sacrifice persist? Part of the problem is history: before modern medical advances, organ donation used to be quite painful and dangerous. But organ donation advocates also deserve some of the blame. In a misguided attempt to make the families of brain-dead patients consent to the posthumous donation of their organs, advocates treat donors like saints. But deifying donors only serves to make not donating seem normal.
    This is a serious problem, because there aren’t nearly enough saints in the country to tackle the growing waiting list for a kidney. More than 34,000 people joined the waiting list in 2010; fewer than 17,000 received one. Thousands of people die waiting each year.

    This is a tragedy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The people waiting for kidneys aren’t dying because of kidney failure; they’re dying because of our failure — without Congress’s misguided effort to ban organ sales, they would have been able to get the kidneys they desperately needed.

    It has been illegal to compensate kidney donors in any way since 1984. The fear behind the law — that a rich tycoon could take advantage of someone desperately poor and persuade that person to sell an organ for a pittance — is understandable. But the truth is that the victims of the current ban are disproportionately African-American and poor. When wealthy white people find their way onto the kidney waiting list, they are much more likely to get off it early by finding a donor among their friends and family (or, as Steve Jobs did for a liver transplant in 2009, by traveling to a region with a shorter list). Worst of all, the ban encourages an international black market, where desperate people do end up selling their organs, without protection, fair compensation or proper medical care.

    A well-regulated legal market for kidneys would not have any of these problems. It could ensure that donors were compensated fairly — most experts say somewhere in the ballpark of $50,000 would make sense. Only the government or a chosen nonprofit would be allowed to purchase the kidneys, and they would allocate them on the basis of need rather than wealth, the same way that posthumously donated organs are currently distributed. The kidneys would be paid for by whoever covers the patient, whether that is their insurance company or Medicare. Ideally, so many donors would come forward that no patient would be left on the waiting list.

    In the end, paying for kidneys could actually save the government money; taxpayers already foot the bill for dialysis for many patients through Medicare, and research has shown that transplants save more than $100,000 per patient, relative to dialysis.

    There’s no reason that paying for a kidney should be seen as predatory. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling legalizing compensation for bone marrow donors; we already allow paid plasma, sperm and egg donation, as well as payment for surrogate mothers. Contrary to early fears that paid surrogacy would exploit young, poor minority women, most surrogate mothers are married, middle class and white; the evidence suggests that, far from trying to “cash in,” they take pride in performing a service that brings others great happiness. And we regularly pay people to take socially beneficial but physically dangerous jobs — soldiers, police officers and firefighters all earn a living serving society while risking their lives — without worrying that they are taken advantage of. Compensated kidney donors should be no different.
    The only way to really change the terms of the debate and end the waiting lists is to end the ban on compensation and create a legal market for kidneys.
    The author is a 21 year old research analyst for a non-profit that researches donor charities.

    I don't know if any of you read this Op-Ed in the NY Times last month, but I did and I was horrified. It fell off my radar till it dropped back in again when I was doing medical research. I think so long as organs have to come from other human beings, this is a terrible, dangerous idea. I'm also shocked at the NY Times for publishing this kid's Op-Ed at all.

    Do you think he's right or wrong? Does he make any good points? Does the state of organ donation need to change in the U.S.? If so, how?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    3w4
    Posts
    6,276

    Default

    I agree that a well-regulated market would be better than a black market. That applies to almost any product that has been prohibited.

    That said, we'll be growing organs soon, so this will all be moot.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    FREE
    Enneagram
    594 sx/sp
    Socionics
    LII Ne
    Posts
    42,333

    Default

    I think idealistically it makes sense; but realistically, controlling the trade would be difficult once the door was opening, and exploitation would be likely to occur. And I do become leery the more and more our culture might start seeing bodies as commodities and spare parts; the attitude shift will influence future views on people and their bodies.

    I didn't have a lot of fun watching Never Let Me Go a month back. Hard movie.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    That said, we'll be growing organs soon, so this will all be moot.
    That's a good point. There's been quite a leap in our understanding of how to do this, and it's more a matter of learning to iron out the bugs.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    3w4
    Posts
    6,276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think idealistically it makes sense; but realistically, controlling the trade would be difficult once the door was opening, and exploitation would be likely to occur. And I do become leery the more and more our culture might start seeing bodies as commodities and spare parts; the attitude shift will influence future views on people and their bodies.
    The way you control trade is to make the "path of least resistance" the legal, regulated path. If you give people a legal option, they'll almost always take it. And when things are out in the open exploitation is less likely than when transactions are conducted on the black market. Look at it this way, if you sell your kidney on the black market today and the buyer refuses to pay, where do you turn? You can't sue.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    FREE
    Enneagram
    594 sx/sp
    Socionics
    LII Ne
    Posts
    42,333

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The way you control trade is to make the "path of least resistance" the legal, regulated path. If you give people a legal option, they'll almost always take it. And when things are out in the open exploitation is less likely than when transactions are conducted on the black market. Look at it this way, if you sell your kidney on the black market today and the buyer refuses to pay, where do you turn? You can't sue.
    I'm thinking more broadly, actually... for example, if that goes through, then there's no justification to deny any body part that you have two of or that can regrow, but what are the ramifications of those also becoming available, long-term, on cultural attitude and physical health costs, etc?

    For example, a question that popped into my head (troubleshooting potential problems) -- what's the health risk on people who have already given up a kidney? Do they have any additional health risks that show up long-term? Does their surviving kidney hold up decently long term? They're definitely more out on a limb. What are the statistics like here?

    I mean, I'd feel leery trying to make a fast buck selling one of my organs because I no longer have a backup, but many people in our culture don't ahve that issue. Are those people also more prone to risky behavior that would put their lives at risk without that backup? etc.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    3w4
    Posts
    6,276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm thinking more broadly, actually... for example, if that goes through, then there's no justification to deny any body part that you have two of or that can regrow, but what are the ramifications of those also becoming available, long-term, on cultural attitude and physical health costs, etc?
    I don't think this would have much of an impact on the culture, and even if it did, we'll be growing organs soon so this will all be moot. No potential recipient would choose a donated organ over a grown organ once the growing process is perfected because of the possibility of rejection.

    For example, a question that popped into my head (troubleshooting potential problems) -- what's the health risk on people who have already given up a kidney? Do they have any additional health risks that show up long-term? Does their surviving kidney hold up decently long term? They're definitely more out on a limb. What are the statistics like here?

    I mean, I'd feel leery trying to make a fast buck selling one of my organs because I no longer have a backup, but many people in our culture don't ahve that issue. Are those people also more prone to risky behavior that would put their lives at risk without that backup? etc.
    I don't know what the risks are of giving up a kidney. That said, some people do it for free, so I assume it's not terribly traumatic. The article in the OP said that the donors' other kidney grows in size to compensate, so maybe the effects are negligible? I don't know.

    I'm not a fan of writing laws to prevent risky people from engaging in risky behavior that doesn't have a direct impact on others. For example, I'm all for traffic laws because risky drivers could harm others, but I'm against drug prohibition.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #7

    Default

    I think like most 21 year olds, he's naive about the long-term implications. (Isn't this why military recruiters set up shop on school campuses? --they need young, healthy, and idealistic.) I shudder to think of college grads pawning off spare organs to pay off college debt in a stagnant job market. Let's face it, the majority of people desperate enough to sell organs (i.e. heavily indebted) for cash are the same people who will lack the resources to manage the long-term health complications should they arise.

    Does anyone know if organ donation would exempt you from military service?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Let's face it, the majority of people desperate enough to sell organs (i.e. heavily indebted) for cash are the same people who will lack the resources to manage the long-term health complications should they arise.
    Agreed. So we'll all be paying for those people's health care in the end. I also don't trust that the organs will be distributed fairly...the first time someone rich gets one, it will make news and people will distrust the system. I think this is an extremely shortsighted idea. I think the biggest problem in healthcare today (while an understandable one) is the unquestioned ideal of preserving any life at any cost, driven by technology that allows us to.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    3w4
    Posts
    6,276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    I think like most 21 year olds, he's naive about the long-term implications. (Isn't this why military recruiters set up shop on school campuses? --they need young, healthy, and idealistic.) I shudder to think of college grads pawning off spare organs to pay off college debt in a stagnant job market. Let's face it, the majority of people desperate enough to sell organs (i.e. heavily indebted) for cash are the same people who will lack the resources to manage the long-term health complications should they arise.

    Does anyone know if organ donation would exempt you from military service?
    What are the long-term implications?
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #10

    Default

    In the most perfect form of the word its cannibal capitalism we're talking about here, it makes me think about how the Nazi holocaust didnt simply end at killing people but stripped them of all possessions, took the gold from their teeth and then turned them into bars of soap, its sort of what happens when industrialism meets dehumanisation.

    Whether earlier cultures are disdained or not for superstition for believing in the soul, spirit, God, afterlife, ancestoral spirits, they at least preserved a special reverence for people and didnt reduce them to mere resources to be harvested like so much wheat.

    I'm actually a fan of things like opt out rather than opt in organ donation but within a framework of some sort of socialised medicine and health care, where gift relationships are paramount rather than money. Legalising and popularising organ harvesting for profit isnt going to prevent things like the drugged tourist urban legend of organ theft, its only going to make it more likely.

Similar Threads

  1. Ultimate F vs T decision... To stay with friends or not?
    By Snow Turtle in forum Academics and Careers
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 06-19-2009, 07:47 PM
  2. OK to Reveal Team's Type Or Not?
    By ENFJ in forum Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-19-2007, 06:01 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO