Doherty on Organ Sales in San Diego Tonight

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I'll be appearing tonight in a panel/debate sponsored by the Current Issues Forum of San Diego on "Matching donors to organs: The politics, ethics and economics." I'll be taking the position that a free market, including financial compensation to donors (currently illegal), should be legalized, and will be an enormous help in increasing the supply of organ donors. Fellow panelists are Dr. Francis Delmonico, vice president/president-elect of the Organ Transplant Network/ United Organ Sharing Network, and Dr. Arthur Matas, professor of surgery and director of renal transplant service at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The event is this evening at 6 pm, with a reception starting at 5:15. It's held at the San Diego Natural History Museum at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Village Place. Full details on event here. Feel free to make bids on my organs during the Q and A–all serious offers considered.

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  1. This topic always makes me wonder how things would work in a free market.

    How big a variance would there be in the price of the organs? What would be the determining factors of the price (both on the buy and the sell side) for organs.

    Would there be a middle man who could turn a profit via a markup ?? Or do the buyer and seller negotiate the prices themseleves?

    Would there be any kind of quality control??

    What would be the criteria for rating the quality of the organs and who would be responsible for that?

    If I have not so great health or haven’t taken very good care of myself over the years would my organs fetch me a lower price? Would they cost less for the one who needs it?

    If I am in need of an organ, how big a difference would there be in quality between the lower end and the higher end of the price spectrum?

    If Im poor and I need an organ will I only be able to get organ from sub-standard donors?

    Personally, I tend to believe that a free market in Organ donation may in fact increase the supply of organ’s donated…but it would also open a whole other complicated can of worms that might not easily be sorted out by the market.

    Does anyone have any stats on the rate of organ donations under the system we currently have? It seems to me that more people are organ donors now then there were 10 years ago and that the number of people who are organ donors seems to be steadily increasing in our current system.

  2. So come on down to Tex And Edna Boil’s Organ Emporium. Acres and acres of pre-owned kidneys priced to move. We can put you in a late model kidney – I mean put a late model kidney in you – for just $88.95 a month. That’s right! Just $88.95!

  3. I’d give my right eye to attend that panel discussion.

    Unfortunately, federal law prohibits me from doing so.

  4. So… Can we have your liver?

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