Monday, February 18, 2008


An editorial in The Press of Atlantic City has this to say about LifeSharers: "Frankly, we like the approach promoted by a Nashville, Tenn., group called LifeSharers, which advocates changing transplant waiting lists to put people who have agreed to donate their own organs ahead of people who have not agreed to be donors. That's cold. But there's a certain elemental logic to it."

Giving organs first to registered organ donors is not cold. It creates an incentive for non-donors to become donors, and that saves lives.

What's really cold is burying or cremating organs that could save your neighbors' lives. Every year, Americans throw away 20,000 transplantable organs. And every year, over 8,000 Americans die because there aren't enough transplantable organs for everyone. That's about as cold as it gets.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

A survey of non-organ donors

The Patriot-News reports: "The Pennsylvania Medical Society, which wants people to be donors, recently surveyed non-donor licensed drivers to find out why they're not donors. It found 42.6 percent of them hadn't considered being an organ donor. Another 37.5 had considered it but don't feel comfortable being a donor."

The 42.6% who hadn't considered being an organ donor should consider what it would be like needing an organ transplant.

Of the 37.5% who don't feel comfortable being a donor, how many do you suppose would feel comfortable suffering while waiting for an organ transplant? They'd feel even less comfortable when they found out there was more than a 50-50 chance of dying before getting a transplant, while Americans who don't feel comfortable donating were burying or cremating thousands of transplantable organs every year.

Accoring to the survey, the other 20% of non-donors say they want to donate but haven't got around to signing up. The act of signing up is very important. Statistics show that if you've signed up to be an organ donor and told your family, your organs will be transplanted about 90% of the time if medically possible. If you don't sign up and tell your family, your family will refuse to allow donation about 50% of the time. This is why LifeSharers rewards the act of signing up to be an organ donor.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Class-based organ donation?

The idea behind LifeSharers is that putting organ donors first on the transplant waiting list will increase the number of organ donors and save more lives.

In a story on WSBT TV in South Bend, Sam Davis of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization compares putting organ donors first to excluding people by class.

This comparison is offensive. Also, putting organ donors first is legal, while (as Mr. Davis correctly points out) excluding people by class is illegal: "For example, I can't say, ‘Don't give that organ to a Jew, don't give it to a black, don't give it to a Muslim, don't give it to a minority, don't give it to anybody from Kentucky,’" Davis said.

The Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today" (see the item titled "One of These Things Is Not Like The Others") adds their take: "the idea that favoring fellow organ donors is the equivalent of disfavoring blacks or Jews is twisted. The former approach seeks to give people an incentive to do something good; the latter punishes people for what they are. Davis might as well argue that a cop has no more business pulling someone over for driving while drunk than for driving while black."

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