Friday, March 17, 2006

To ensure everyone can receive a transplant?

On March 15, WCCO TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul aired a story about LifeSharers.

A spokesperson for LifeSource (the local organ procurement organization) said LifeSharers "could create a class of people that would have priority for transplants." That's the whole point of LifeSharers! Can anyone name the "class" LifeSharers creates? If you said "registered organ donors" give yourself a big pat on the back. Registered organ donors should have priority for transplants. And by the way, everyone can join the class LifeSharers creates. Membership is free.

The LifeSource spokesperson went on to say that the organ allocation system "as it is now, is founded on principles of equity to ensure everyone in need can receive a life-saving transplant." This is just too much. One of the system's "principles of equity" is that when deciding who gets the next organ, registered organ donors should be treated no better than people who refuse to donate their organs. That is one strange principle of equity.

It's even stranger to say the system ensures that everyone in need can receive a life-saving transplant. It does exactly the opposite. More than half of the people who need transplants in the United States will die before they get one. Three years ago, the President-Elect of UNOS (the organization that runs the allocation system) called the transplant waiting list "the waiting to die list."

If "the system" allocated organs first to registered organ donors it would produce more registered organ donors -- and save thousands of lives every year. If you want your organs to go to other registered organ donors, please join LifeSharers. Membership is free and open to all at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88.

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