Sunday, March 25, 2012

Parts Is Still Parts

In light of Dick Cheney receiving a heart transplant, and the news that due to his age he waited a bit longer than he ordinarily should have, and that many others will not receive hearts in time to save their lives, I am rerunning a post from a previous time because the issue is still relevant.

Organ donations have been the news recently. Most alarmingly, the new policy in Great Britain that allows hospitals to take organs without consent. This is wrong on more than one level, but without getting into these specifics at this time I want to propose an alternative: Organ selling.

For starters, let's talk kidneys.
Currently, sixteen people die in the United States every day while awaiting a kidney transplant. Good kidneys are not, and should not be, rare to find. Everybody is born with two good ones, and only one kidney is necessary to sustain life.So,yeah, there's all these spare parts walking around and no really good reason for sixteen deaths everyday.
The issue then, is not one of limited supply, but one of supply and demand. Generally, some healthy soul assumes room temperature, and then the medical staff comes out, like vultures circling a fresh kill, and attempts to persuade the grieving family to part with some parts:
"So sorry your child is dead. Can we have this?"
"Before we pull the plug, we want something for nothin."

If families, or even individuals, were allowed to sell their kidneys, more kidneys would become available. Money is a great motivator. How many surviving families could benefit if they could get a sizable lump of cash after Daddy dies in a tragic accident,leaving his kids without the support of a father? Or, somebody struggling in poverty could offer up one of their spare kidneys to somebody with the means to save themselves while also helping out another?

Now, before you go and turn all "Two Americas" on me about how 'the rich' will benefit off 'the poor', let me inform you: our current system of donation already favors the wealthy and the famous. Celebrities routinely move to the front of the organ line. This is not a not a secret to the mildly informed. And the wealthy, but not so famous, travel to third world nations like India to receive organs on the open market.

I don't know about you, but if a family member could procure an organ for a price, I wouldn't hesitate to drain my savings and mortgage my home to save their life.
Add in the charity factor of neighbors, co-workers, or church groups, and nobody will go without.
As it stands now, I am forbidden from doing so as I do not have the means to go abroad, or a government that will allow this basic freedom.

Right here, right now, in what is bragged of as the freest of nations, everybody makes money from organ donations except for the supplier of the organs. We need to change this.

Sure, we could adopt the European-socialist-serfdom model that says you and your body are not your own, but wards of the state instead, to serve a greater good according to, and defined by, the The Powers.
Or we could solve our organ shortage in a manner that respects individual freedoms and personal sovereignty.


Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Thank you so much for this piece. Paid organ harvesting is something that could benefit so many families, especially when medical cost -- whether the patient lives or dies --is so astronomical.

Brian said...

It is strange to me that people are horrified at the prospect of compensation for organs, but totally fine with a committee deciding who lives and who dies.

Gino said...

when my sister died, mom got a phone call that same nite asking for parts.

thing is, parts are a big business. my mom agreed to corneas (my sis supported stuff like that), and then the caller started slowly moving on to other less life-saving parts, and wanted to strip the skin off her. mom said FU, you get corneas.

somebody less wise would think lives were being saved, when the real issue was how much jack they could pocket off the body.
nobody offered to help with burial costs, though. fucking vultures...