Organs Donation Article Review
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In her article “Death’s Waiting list” which was published in New York Times Sally Satel raises the question if it is fair not to give money for organs donation. The author of the article faced the problem of donating herself when she needed her kidney to be transplanted. She has been in a waiting list for a long time, found a potential donor in a website who escaped at the last moment and even started to think about going overseas to find an appropriate donor when luckily she received a help from her friend Virgina Postrel. Otherwise, her chances to find a donor were up to zero. Every day thousands of people wait for their kidneys, livers and lungs, but unfortunately only few of them receive what they need. Therefore Sally Satel states: “Demand so outstrips supply that today someone on the list dies every 90 minutes. Tick. Tick. Tick.” And she is right. All these people who are numbered on the waiting lists for three, four, five years definitely do not have so much time.
Unfortunately, but the government has a different view towards this problem. The 1984 National Organ Transplantation Act makes it illegal for anyone to sell or acquire an organ for "valuable consideration," that is, money or anything of monetary value. Thus, the government relies on altruism and suggests that organs from the donors should be given feely which, of course, reduces the chances of those who desperately need transplantation. A great number of people die because of not having this chance.
So, who is going to donate his or her organs for free? Usually it is deceased individual provided that his organs are healthy or a member of a family who simply cannot refuse and not to help his relative. That is why the verdict of the author of this article was the following: “Relying solely on altruism is not enough”. Sally Satel insists that there should be some incentives for those who donate. Moreover, she tries to give examples of possible rewards such as: some financial help, deposits in their retirement accounts, guaranteed health insurance and others. Only this way it is possible to get things moving.
However, many of the governmental and nongovernmental organizations are not sure about the virtues of this proposal. At this rate the author of the article quotes the IOM and its belief that it is immoral to treat one’s own body as if it was “for sale”. They also argue that making the selling of organs legal will attract mostly the poor people. Nevertheless the author finds counterargument to this idea saying that it is not bad to help people by donating and at the same time receive a compensation that will enhance the quality of their lives. Therefore, Sally Satel insists that “if we are to deny treatment to the suffering and dying, we need better reasons than our own feelings of disgust”.
So, we can see that the problem of making the selling of organs legal and of giving donors reward for their help is still on the agenda. On the one hand there is some truth in the IOM’s words. If donors are going to get money for their kidneys, lungs and other organs it may bring some difficulties as well. Thus, it can cause speculation, blackmail and some other problems. A notion of black market organ is already known worldwide. The global network has hundreds of corresponding advertisements so far. No wonder governments ring the alarm. A lot of people try to improve their financial state by selling their organs. Therefore, the process of donating the inward parts of the body shouldn’t be treated by people as an easy way to increase their income. They should not forget about the real aims of this process. Another negative effect of permission to sell organs lies in the following: it will give rise to exploitation of the most undefended – the poor. The wealthier population will be offering greater amounts of money for the organs if necessary and will leave the poor without any chance to survive. From this perspective legalization of organs sale does not seem to be the right decision.
On the other hand, when we speak about life saving there is no time to think about virtues. Legalization of organ trade may terminate deaths caused by the shortage of donors and may save many lives. Legal buying and selling of organs may put a stop to the development of black market and unsecure organizations as well. It may also stimulate medical institutions to invent new medicine and appropriate treatment for people as they would feel competition. Legal market and financial rewards may become a necessary motivation for those who are still indecisive and whose decision has an impact on a life of a person. At the same time organs sale does not eliminate the altruism factor. It should be repeated that in reality people do not have time to remain on the waiting list for years. Moreover the number of people who are added to this list increases annually. In addition, the demand in transplantation increases constantly worldwide while the offer decreases. Therefore the legalization of organ donation may solve all these problems.
I suppose that people are not in favor of making organs donation legal because in this case we put people’s organs on the same footing as other goods on the market. It doesn’t seem right if buying kidney or liver will be treated in the same way as buying a shampoo or some other stuff.
Satel, Sally “Death’s Waiting list” The New York Times, May 15, 2006. Web. 08 Feb. 2015
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