Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Parts for Sell?

As I mentioned in my 101 Things About Me (see #22), I have pretty random thoughts sometimes. Today, for some reason, my mind drifted to organ donation of all things. Don't ask why. Sometimes, it is better to just accept it. There was probably an organ donation PSA on the radio that I subconsciously absorbed. Anyway, we constantly hear about the lack of donors for organs and I got started wondering about how to change that.

My simple answer to this equation of lack of donors is to provide some sort of financial incentive. As with a lot of things, the simple answer brings in philosophical support or objection. That's why I thought about writing this post. The money involved will not directly impact the person donating the organs, but the donor's family could benefit from donation. In fact, the one group of people that suffer the most in this "transaction" are the only ones that DON'T get compensated for the donation. The hospital and surgeon get paid well for performing the operation. The organ bank gets paid for "procuring" the organ. The recipient gets a new organ and (possibly) a greatly extended lifespan. If people knew that their loved ones would benefit from organ donation, then it would be more likely for them to end up checking the organ donation. What do you guys think about this?


On a different but related note, blood banks in this country are constantly telling us that the blood supplies are at critically low levels. I think the reason for this is a lack of incentive to donate (other than goodwill). In New Mexico, we had a "scandal" where the salaries of the executives of the blood donation organization (NOT the Red Cross) were published and were well in excess of 6 figures (before the decimal point). This caused quite a stir because all the profits from the operation were the result of blood products derived from donors who received ZERO compensation. In addition, a person who had donated gallons (literally) of blood over the years was charged something like $600 for a unit of blood (the $ figure is likely off, but you get the point) by this same blood donation organization.

As many of you know, I have donated plasma MANY times over the years, and I have the scars to prove it. Those trips to Westgate Biologicals weren't really donations because I never did it for free. However, I can't actually make myself donate during blood drives. The incentive isn't there. I guess I am not much of the "hero" type. What are your thoughts on this one?


FULL DISCLOSURE: I am an organ donor. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

I warned you. This one is truly random.


Kritter Krit said...

Weird and wacky stuff.

But I agree. It's always good to be compensated. Tit for tat. Body fluids and kidneys for cash.


Josh and Margo said...

Can I have your brain?

Russ said...


Only if you pay Kristy and Sophie for it after the "accident".

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