View Full Version : Organ Donation and Ethics


jag416
03-24-2008, 12:54 PM
In North America, we have a severe shortage of usable donor kidneys, and it is a fact that it is illegal for a donor to sell a kidney (his/her own or someone else's). You can donate one free of charge, but there’s a federal law against saying, “I’m willing to sell a kidney; let the bidding begin.”

Actually the only country in the world where you can legally sell a kidney is Iran. Therefore, the only country in the world where there’s no waiting list for donor kidneys is Iran.

So the question is; why is it that Iran is the only place in the world where self-ownership is taken to its logical conclusion when it comes to one’s own organs?

Do we not own our bodies? Should we not have a say in if we want to sell our body parts. And why all the pressure to donate organs when we are dead? Removal of our kidneys, lungs, liver, etc does not even serve to procure us a decent burial plot for our altruistic troubles. Everyone else involved in the legal organ donation business gets paid, except for the donor or the donor's estate. Let's face it, from the start everyone involved in the process is getting compensated. From the person who picks up the receiver when alerted to the donor organs, the surgeons who performs the transplant, the nurses who assist, certainly the recipient, and even the individuals who mop the floor in the O.R. afterwards. Everyone is compensated, except for the person actually providing the organ(s).

More than 5,000 people die every year in the USA alone, while on the waiting list for a kidney, and those folks are written off as "unfortunates" in the process. If we would only let the market determine the supply, the waiting list could be eliminated virtually overnight, and everyone involved would be properly compensated in the end. The concern about poor and disenfranchised persons being forced to get on the operating table is a mute point. Measures could be put in place to prevent these sort of abuses. Everything from psychological testing, to a complete screen of the donors health and organ(s), to ensuring a direct deposit into the donor's bank account, signed documentation, video taped witness statements, and signed waivers protecting the donor from lawsuits for organ rejection.

So the question is do we own our body parts or not? If not who does? And why shouldn't we be able to sell what we give away for free?

geenaRN
03-24-2008, 04:45 PM
Actually the only country in the world where you can legally sell a kidney is Iran. Therefore, the only country in the world where there’s no waiting list for donor kidneys is Iran.

Wow, even the poor people? I mean, there are just Iranians lined up to help out their fellow man, even if it means selling avkidney real cheap?


Do we not own our bodies? Should we not have a say in if we want to sell our body parts. And why all the pressure to donate organs when we are dead? Removal of our kidneys, lungs, liver, etc does not even serve to procure us a decent burial plot for our altruistic troubles.

But that's the thing. Isn't "altruistic troubles" an oxymoron? If you are doing something altruistically, you theoretically are not expecting anything in return. It is defined as "showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others."

Everyone else involved in the legal organ donation business gets paid, except for the donor or the donor's estate. Let's face it, from the start everyone involved in the process is getting compensated. From the person who picks up the receiver when alerted to the donor organs, the surgeons who performs the transplant, the nurses who assist, certainly the recipient, and even the individuals who mop the floor in the O.R. afterwards. Everyone is compensated, except for the person actually providing the organ(s).

Look at the shortage of organs in this country. We don't even have enough people to volunteer their organs - do you think we'd have enough people to volunteer to answer the phones, monitor the donor while they are in ICU, not to mention all of the labwork that needs to be done to match the donors, etc? Would we even want volunteers doing that? Why should all of those people do it for free? Altruism?

More than 5,000 people die every year in the USA alone, while on the waiting list for a kidney, and those folks are written off as "unfortunates" in the process. If we would only let the market determine the supply, the waiting list could be eliminated virtually overnight, and everyone involved would be properly compensated in the end. The concern about poor and disenfranchised persons being forced to get on the operating table is a mute point. Measures could be put in place to prevent these sort of abuses. Everything from psychological testing, to a complete screen of the donors health and organ(s), to ensuring a direct deposit into the donor's bank account, signed documentation, video taped witness statements, and signed waivers protecting the donor from lawsuits for organ rejection.

And what of the people too poor to buy an organ for the going rate? Just let them rot on dialysis? Let them die from liver failure? What do we do with the family members that want to donate their loved one's organs? Maybe aunt Mathilda didn't want to donate her organs, but hey - if it adds $3,000 to her estate, why not?

I'm not saying it's a horrible idea. I think everything you described above could possibly be implemented, but it would really take a lot of time and red tape and would drive up the cost even more.

Of course, if the rich can afford it.... And perhaps in the long run it would cost less than dialysis.

Ethically, it just doesn't sit very well with me.

LesleyJoy
03-25-2008, 11:57 AM
...So the question is do we own our body parts or not? If not who does? And why shouldn't we be able to sell what we give away for free?

Well, now... I am going to have to think about this for a bit. As the mother of a son who had 14 terrific years after a kidney transplant, I understand both intellectually and experientially the need for organ transplants.

I am concerned, however, that legally selling tissue/organs would lead to terrible abuses of both sellers and recipients. From my perspective, the only ones that would benefit from such a system would be the companies buying and selling the tissue/organs.

As an official requestor for tissue donation at my hospital, I have seen that some patients/family members are able to bring something good out of their loss by giving 'the gift of life, the gift of another chance' to a stranger. I have also witnessed the utterly reprehensible behaviors of a certain for-profit company which preys upon the grief of patients/family members and which, when all is said and done, leaves the family without support and with a big bill. Given these two current options, a not-for-profit agency and a for-profit agency, it is clear to me that altruism is a far, far better choice.

Good thread.

Joy

Julie
03-25-2008, 01:26 PM
I too share your concerns about people being generally able to sell a kidney. I am not sure what might be worse, individuals haqwking their organs on some kind of ebay like website, or large companies making money out of the misfortune of others. You only have one kidney when it comes to giving it away / selling it and there are some really unscrupulous individuals out there.

MyOwnWoman
03-25-2008, 07:17 PM
Somehow selling my body parts to the highest bidder seems wrong on a visceral level.... but that's just me.

KimRN
04-03-2008, 10:06 PM
Whoa, this is a heavy one.

I think it's called organ "donation" for a reason. By making it a "no strings attached" offer of an organ, many of the potential unscrupulous factors are automatically removed.

Now, if I am willing, as a living person, to donate to a family member or other person with whom I am matched, it would be appropriate to have the hospital costs covered, along with the time off of work compensated. Once you start getting into compensating people for the actual organ or for the "pain and suffering" involved, you get into legal/ethical issues.

The same goes with a donor on life support, except for the work compensation part.

DisappearingJohn
04-17-2008, 12:56 PM
With all the urban legends about "waking up in a bathtub missing a kidney" out there, if selling a kidney was legal...

The issue with selling anything is that it will bring out the even less-scrupulous people to attempt to make money. Imagine the difficulties if people with blood-borne diseases managed to donate organs through unscrupulous people; the list goes on...

P/J
04-19-2008, 07:52 AM
With all the urban legends about "waking up in a bathtub missing a kidney" out there, if selling a kidney was legal...

The issue with selling anything is that it will bring out the even less-scrupulous people to attempt to make money. Imagine the difficulties if people with blood-borne diseases managed to donate organs through unscrupulous people; the list goes on...

A very tricky situation. Not what I expected from the header. Can't this apply to blood donations as well (I understand that people get paid to give in the USA). In Australia we are not paid to give blood, however many workplaces have competitions to see how many people they can get to donate (the comp goes for 3 months so people can only donate once). You can also have time off work (paid) to give blood. Although we are generally low on blood stocks, esp winter, we never run out.

With organ donation, many people with to donate, but it is the family which has the final say and generally it is no. There was a concept going round that there could be compulsory donation unless you had registered not to before YOUR death (family has not say in it).

Many situations with family arise because they don't want their loved one 'cut up'. Until recently a lot of people didn't understand that the body goes in as if for a normal surgery. Family can also decided what organs can be donated, heart, kidneys, lungs, skin.

But 'Heaven knows we need them on Earth"

Nurse Stella
04-19-2008, 11:07 PM
I always thought there was an age limit for someone donating anything. Last fall one of my 89 yr old hospice patients was able to donate skin. Her family was told that it could help over 20 cancer or burn patients. I personally think that if the patient signed an organ donor card, the family should have no say. As for selling organs- I have a problem with making a profit on giving.

Bev:dontknow:

P/J
04-22-2008, 08:18 PM
***NEWS***
This week the Australian Government suggested introducing an opt-out organ donor scheme. This means that everyone is a potential organ donor unless they opt out before their death.

marizandres
09-12-2010, 09:06 PM
I am quite bothered with the idea of making selling of kideneys legal. Companies who are involved in this business will be the ones to actually benefit from it the most. And if you ask me, I'd say it's unethical. Donating is okay especially if you're trying to save a life but selling is a big "no no". Well, that's just my opinion.

pronurse45
01-01-2013, 02:15 AM
It's really bothersome to know that there are a lot of people who allows themselves to be used in the illegal kidney trade just for some amount of money!regarding the family and organ donation of the deceased relative, I heard a news recently where the family got furious because the eye bank took their deceased loved one's cornea without their permission!

Belkard
02-05-2013, 01:42 PM
Nowadays I think that "market donation" measures aren’t possible because it’s very difficult to introduce a paid human organ system without problems with the people who sell their organs just because they need the money.

It’s true that the waiting list would be reduced, but people wouldn’t think of altruism; they would think of money. I also think that they wouldn’t think about the consequences about losing a kidney or any other human organ.

Belkard
02-05-2013, 01:44 PM
Nowadays I think that "human organ market" measures aren’t possible because it’s very difficult to introduce a paid human organ system without problems with the people who sell their organs just because they need the money.

It’s true that the waiting list would be reduced, but people wouldn’t think of altruism; they would think of money. I also think that they wouldn’t think about the consequences about losing a kidney or any other human organ.

jasaka
02-27-2015, 05:16 PM
Being on both sides of the table here I thought at first what an dreadful thing to sell organs. As I read all the reviews I have somewhat changed my mind. Every on is getting paid except the donar. If the wealthy can afford it and the lower socio class can't does that mean only the rich will get the organs.
Delicate subject. Good and Bad both sides