Friday, June 15, 2007

LifeSharers in TIME Magazine

TIME Magazine has a story about LifeSharers in its current issue.

The story says Dr. David Landry, a nephrologist at Columbia University, "points out there are people who consciously don't register for organ donation for religious and other reasons, and it would be unfair to press them on their beliefs." If we are supposed to respect these people's reasons for not donating to us, shouldn't those people respect our reasons for donating to people who will return the favor? Are we supposed to respect their beliefs while they object to ours?

The story also quotes Elisa Gordon, a bioethics professor at Albany Medical College in New York State. "No other patients seeking medical treatment are required to give back anything beyond money for the costs of treatment," Gordon says. But organ transplants are a unique medical treatment -- it's illegal to pay people for their organs so there are no organ transplants without organ donations. As long as we have to rely on donated organs, it makes sense to give organs first to organ donors.

The story also incorrectly says LifeSharers members pledge to donate their organs "only to other members". This is not true. We pledge to donate first to other members. The last thing we want is for our organs to go to waste, so if no member needs an organ from a LifeSharers member, the organ is offered to non-members.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

How many Americans are registered organ donors?

Reuters reports that according to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, half of the adults in the United States say they have registered as an organ donor.

Humphrey Taylor, chairman of Harris Interactive, said he is not totally convinced by the poll's figures: "We know that when we do surveys like this, more people claim to have done the right thing than do the right thing. I think if half of all U.S adults really had registered, we would be in much better shape than we are, so I am skeptical on those numbers."

It's too bad the poll didn't ask those who said they had not registered as organ donors two more questions: "Would you be willing to accept an organ transplant should you ever need one?" and "Why on earth should anyone donate an organ to you if you're not willing to return the favor?"

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