Kidney Transplant


So, I’m reading a story about an illegal immigrant who is struggling to obtain a kidney transplant.  He has a donor; his brother.  But the system doesn’t allow illegal residents transplant care.  Lifetime dialysis?  Sure.  Transplant?  No.

Anyway, I’m sure I read this somewhere, but it occurred to me that of all the people in the kidney transplant process, the doctors, the hospitals, the nurses everybody, the only person who isn’t compensated for his time and effort is the guy that loses the kidney.

Isn’t that weird?  Maybe if we allowed people to sell their spare kidney we wouldn’t have so many people waiting for a kidney.

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10 comments
  1. Moe said:

    There’s a fourishing trade in Third World of people selling organs – kidney’s mostly. And, of course, a throng of buyers who can afford them – probably not here thank elvis.

    As for this poor fellow, he has – as we all do – bumped into the sad practice of ‘penny wise, pound foolish’.

    • pino said:

      And, of course, a throng of buyers who can afford them – probably not here thank elvis.

      Yes, there would be that. People with money could jump to the front of the line. However, that means when faced with two conditions:

      1. Wealthier people are able to obtain kidneys first, but in the end, more people are willing to give up a kidney. More people are saved.

      2. The system remains more “fair”. The most serious cases are moved to the front followed by “first in first out” algorithms. However, in aggregate, more people perish.

      I don’t know why we would rather live in world #2. It would seem that creating a condition where people, perhaps near death themselves, could obtain compensation for a kidney, would save more people than otherwise.

      I understand that I’m a free market kinda guy and that this market might be extreme, so I acknowledge that this view may not be tenable.

      • Moe said:

        There is a solution to the shortage without resorting to putting human body parts on the open market – a very disturbing thought. Right now, if you want to be an organ donor, you have to take an active role in putting that info on your drivers’ license. But we could make organ donation the default on license applications and one would choose to opt out. That would do it.

      • pino said:

        There is a solution to the shortage without resorting to putting human body parts on the open market – a very disturbing thought.

        Consider, we already do have that market:

        Blood
        Plasma
        Sperm
        Bone marrow

        Why a kidney is different has me fascinated.

        we could make organ donation the default on license applications and one would choose to opt out. That would do it.

        Speaking of fascinating, I will never cease to be amazed at our desire to coerce people rather than default to free choice.

      • Moe said:

        Blood, plasma, sperm, bone marrow – all replacable. We produce all of them constantly. Kidney? Different.

        I don’t see how making donation a ‘default’ position is coercion. Is that what you’ mean?

      • pino said:

        I don’t see how making donation a ‘default’ position is coercion.

        I should be able to decide what to do with my remains, right? I would object to the notion that the state can dictate unless I opt out.

  2. Alan Scott said:

    I see both sides of this. More organs to transplant, people down on their luck pressured by creditors to sell their body parts. My former Governor Bob Casey Sr got a heart-liver transplant. People wondered how he got to the front of the line for that .

    • pino said:

      More organs to transplant, people down on their luck pressured by creditors to sell their body parts.

      That’s the part that gets a little creepy. Would there be pressure to sell? On one hand, I can see it. On the other, we already see people able to sell their blood, their plasma and even their semen. I don’t know what the fundamental difference is?

      Perhaps it has to do with the nature of a kidney vs that of blood. As soon as you leave the clinic, the body begins to create more blood. However, the day may come when the donor needs his kidneys.

      Not sure. In any event, I would suspect a black market would build more perverse incentives than an above board one would.

  3. Alan Scott said:

    pino,

    You could also have families pressuring say a mentally challenged adult to donate a kidney to help the family with expenses.

    • pino said:

      You could also have families pressuring say a mentally challenged adult to donate a kidney to help the family with expenses.

      To be sure, the downsides exist. Abuse certainly could and would occur.

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