Former Reason editor Virginia Postrel (Reason archive here) writes about a horrifying case that underscores just how anti-human our current system of organ donation is.
After a tense legal battle, 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who needs a lung transplant, has been moved from the waiting list for children to that of adults, where the supply is vastly larger. But Sarah's potentially happy ending is no solution, writes Postrel at Bloomberg View:
The current system generally favors people in dire straits over healthier patients, for instance. It gives patients points for waiting a long time and, as a result, favors older, sicker patients over younger, healthier ones. That reflects one politically determined idea of fairness. But it would be equally fair– or equally unfair—to favor healthier patients who might live longer with the precious organ.
A sick little girl makes a compelling story. The tragedy is that if little Sarah gets her lung, someone else will go without.
Regular readers know that Postrel is an organ donor herself who has written eloquently about how compensating donors would vastly help expand the supply of organs.
Pre-order Postrel's new book, Deep Glamour, and read her blog at her site here.
Watch this 2008 Reason TV video featuring Postrel and Drew Carey talking about how selling organs—yes, a difficult thought that offends many people—would save many, many more lives than relying on the existing system in which waiting lists for all sorts of organs and other transplant items cause as many problems as they solve.