Organ transplants

The Case for Legalizing Organ Sales

People already legally sell blood, plasma, and bone marrow. Why not a kidney?

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Have you volunteered to be an organ donor? I did.

I just clicked the box on the government form that asks if, once I die, I'm willing to donate my organs to someone who needs them.

Why not? Lots of people need kidneys, livers, etc. When I'm dead, I sure won't need mine.

Still, there are not enough donors. So, more than 100,000 Americans are on a waiting list for kidneys. Taking care of them is so expensive, it consumes almost 3 percent of the federal budget!

So why not allow Americans to sell an organ?

People already legally sell blood, plasma, sperm, eggs, and bone marrow. Why not a kidney? People have two. We can live a full life with just one.

If the U.S. allowed people to sell, the waiting list for kidneys would soon disappear.

"Poor people are going to be hurt," replies philosophy professor Samuel Kerstein in my latest video. Kerstein advised the World Health Organization, which supports the near universal laws that ban selling organs.

"Body parts to be put into Americans will come from poor countries," warns Kerstein. "I don't want to see poor people in Pakistan having their lives truncated."

What arrogance.

People have free will. Poor people are just as capable of deciding what's best for them as rich people. Who are you, I asked Kerstein, to tell people they may not?

"We are people who care about people who are different from us," he replied, "and poorer than we are. That's why we care."

These are "vacuous moralisms," replies Lloyd Cohen, an attorney who's long argued against the ban on organ-selling.

"Transplant surgeons make money. Transplant physicians make money. Hospitals, drug companies make money," he points out. "Everybody can get paid except the person delivering the irreplaceable part!"

He's right, of course, except that today some donors do get paid. Whenever foolish governments ban things that many people want, black markets appear.

Some people go overseas and buy organs from shady middlemen. Some make secret deals in America.

The process would be much safer, and prices lower, if buying and selling were legal.

"Financial incentives work for everything!" says Cohen. "They work for food; they work for housing; they work for clothing!"

He calls the warnings that "the weak and poor will be exploited" paternalistic.

"We heard the same argument with surrogacy," he points out. "Then you interview the women. [They say] this is a wonderful thing that they can do. And they get paid!"

Oddly, the one country that allows the selling of organs is Iran. The government buys organs from people willing to sell. I don't trust statistics from Iran, but a PBS report claims legalization has dramatically reduced the waiting time for a kidney.

Twenty-four years ago, Cohen went on 60 Minutes to argue for legalization of organ sales. At the time, he joined the debate simply because he strongly felt the ban was unjust. But now Cohen has learned that his own kidneys are failing. He needs a transplant.

He won't break the law and turn to the black market. He hopes to get a kidney though a group called MatchingDonors that pairs altruistic volunteers with people who need organs. Remarkably, a woman volunteered to give Cohen one of her kidneys. She's now being tested to see if she is a match for him.

If not, Cohen will be back on the waiting list with 102,914 other Americans. Most will die, waiting.

"Organs that could restore people to health and extend life are instead being buried and burned," sighs Cohen.

All because timid governments would rather suppress commerce than give patients a market-based new shot at life.

COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
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  1. Has anybody here mentioned the death last weekend of J. Neil/Neal Schulman?

  2. Whole blood, plasma, sperm, oocytes, red marrow.

    All of those your body can replace.

    Not a kidney, liver, heart, cornea, nor pancreas.

    So Mr. Stossel. Let us have a conversation about bioethics and medicine. Please do not begin with free markets here. Be serious.

    1. You donate one kidney, the other grows bigger in response. You donate part of your liver, it grows back.

      That’s if you’re alive. If you’re dead and donate any of the things you listed, what’s your concern?

      1. My concern is not donation. It is treating organs such as a kidney as a commercial product.

        Kidneys can be donated in two ways. By someone healthy, perhaps a relative or by someone who is brain dead, circulation and respiration maintained until the organ is harvested. Those need to be tissue matched. I have on my drivers license and my family knows my wishes to donate in such a circumstance. I advocate for others to consider the same.

        What Stossel is proposing is a commercial market. So a desperate poor person can get $10k or more for a kidney.

        I have a problem with that. I know all about what happens after a nephrectomy. I also have some experience with what happens after a transplant.

        You do not cut out a chunk of liver and put it in a living person. The entire organ is removed from someone who is dead. The diseased liver is removed. The vessels and bile duct are reattached and you hope it works.

        1. “It is treating organs such as a kidney as a commercial product.”

          The market for medical care is a market; grow up.

          1. Really I live there. Educate me more.

        2. Everything you said is irrelevant unless you think poor people are mentally incapable of assessing the consequences of their actions relative to their individual value system. If someone has decided that they need $10k more than a kidney, who are you to stop them? It’s not your kidney, nor is it your $10k. If you’re worried they will make the decision without being fully informed, again it’s not your call. They have decided to assume the risk of ignorance because they prefer to spend their time doing something other than educating themselves.

        3. Ok, you talked about effect on the person receiving the transplant, but nothing why you don’t like the doner getting paid.

          If someone wants to take the risk of selling a kidney why shouldn’t they be able to?

        4. You do not cut out a chunk of liver and put it in a living person. The entire organ is removed from someone who is dead. The diseased liver is removed. The vessels and bile duct are reattached and you hope it works.

          Yeah, no. You can remove a portion of liver from a living person and transplant it into another.

          Wiki has a whole section devoted to it – Liver Transplants

          1. Mucked up the link, but you’re capable of looking it up.

            1. Poor people are capable of assessing risk benefits and informed consent as much as wealthy people. There is no difference between them in ethics.

              You do not want medicine to go down this path.

              Now how many people with income over let us say, $500k/yr are going to sell a kidney just for the money? They may very well donate one. I would if my child needed one. You are buying and selling human beings.

              1. Bullshit. Nobody is being bought and sold as a commodity.

                And if I can donate it, I should also be able to sell it. Both actions are voluntary.

                You’d do it for you own child? What if someone else’s child needed one? There’s plenty of kids on the waiting list. You might be a match for one.

                1. Yes and perhaps in answer to your questions.

                  Money should never enter into the decision.

                  You will not find a medical professional who is willing to agree to a certain market price on the exchange for a human kidney or right lobe of liver. That is not a slippery slope it is jumping from a cliff. You do not want this.

                  In an organ donation you have two patients. As I have said above I am in favor of organ donation and my family is well aware.

                  “May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.” Maimonides.

                  We are talking about a very difficult and complicated area of medicine and the ethics of what it means. Sorry free market does not belong here.

                  Here is an interesting article about the complications of liver transplants.

                  https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.302095124#d940211e1

                  1. “May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.” Maimonides.

                    Which, of course, has nothing to do with the donor (vice doctor) being compensated.

                    1. The Oath of Maimonides
                      The eternal providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. May the love for my art actuate me at all time; may neither avarice nor miserliness, nor thirst for glory or for a great reputation engage my mind; for the enemies of truth and philanthropy could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children.

                      May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.

                      Grant me the strength, time and opportunity always to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain; for knowledge is immense and the spirit of man can extend indefinitely to enrich itself daily with new requirements.

                      Today he can discover his errors of yesterday and tomorrow he can obtain a new light on what he thinks himself sure of today. Oh, God, Thou has appointed me to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures; here am I ready for my vocation and now I turn unto my calling.

                      Yes unicorn it has everything to do with it.

                      I could care less about the law. There is no market for human organs because the people who transplant organs do not want anything to do with that.

                      They get paid. Everybody gets paid something.

                      If someone donates a kidney to you and you wish to pay them go ahead. My hope is that you never end up in that situation.

          2. There is a technique where lobar resection is possible. You are correct about that. The most common is orthotopic transplant of the entire organ from a deceased donor. Transplant from living donor would be very much at the edge of technology but has been done. There is high risk to the donor.

            The point in ethics is that there should be no commercial market.

            1. There is high risk to the donor.

              Bullshit.

              Again, from Wiki – All potential donors should know there is a 0.5 to 1.0 percent chance of death.

            2. The point in ethics is that there should be no commercial market.

              So fewer organs are available, resulting in more death. Ethical my ass. It’s amazing how many ethicists prefer death over a consensual exchange.

              1. Unicorn

                The point I am advocating is that there should be no open monetary market for human organs in transplant surgery.

                You disagree so how much is a kidney going for on eBay?

                1. You can’t buy a kidney on eBay due to the federal government making that transaction illegal. Your paternalistic preening aside, what gives you ANY right to determine whether or not I can sell one of my organs?

    2. “Not a kidney, liver, heart, cornea, nor pancreas.”

      The conversation is about selling an organ the body can do without. Some of the things in your list are not like the others.

      1. None of them are the same. Care to discuss?

    3. I have some items in my house that are irreplaceable too, am I allowed to sell those?

      1. Your city / county codes might prevent you from doing so…

    4. “So Mr. Stossel. Let us have a conversation about bioethics and medicine. Please do not begin with free markets here. Be serious.”

      So, E, let us have a conversation here and fuck you for trying to define what we can discuss.

      1. Is your last name Stossel?

        1. If you think Stossel reads this board or comments here, you’re in for a long wait. If you won’t accept us as Mr. Stossel’s proxies, then I suggest you write him an email, or maybe a letter.

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    https://www.knowledge-sourcing.com/

  4. “Poor people are just as capable of deciding what’s best for them as rich people. ”

    Does Stossel really believe this? Poor people has far fewer options than rich people in almost all area of there lives. Organ donation will be no different. The first thing that will happen is that those in the organ trading business will be looking at ways to get that organ cheaper, paying the least they can for kidney, and maximizing their own profit. Its called “Capitalism” and there is nothing wrong with the system, but it doesn’t belong some areas and this is one of those areas.

    1. Explain why the factors you bring out make such trading undesirable.

    2. I don’t know, but Biden thinks poor people are just as good as white people

    3. Yessir, dem po peeples got dem some seerious problems. Ain’t no way theys can make them own decisions.

    4. So capitalism is OK for the doctors performing the transplant, but not the donor? You are a true humanitarian.

      1. “So capitalism is OK for the doctors performing the transplant, but not the donor? You are a true humanitarian.”

        Like the chicken and the pig regarding breakfast, the doctors, the nurses, the hospital, the suppliers; all those people ‘involved’ make money on transplants.
        Heaven forbid the one ‘committed’ to the transplant get anything in return.

      2. A transplant doctor is well paid and has many financial options. If he decides to sell a kidney it is more likely to do it as a free choice. The transplant doctor also will know the value of the kidney and will not accept a low ball offer for the organ. The poor person in need of a large amount of cash (child’s medical issue or for a child’s college) may not have other financial options. The poor person also has less knowledge of the value of the organ and may be offered a value lower than the true worth.

        1. Poor people need to be protected from making poor choices for themselves? I’m sure you’d agree then, they shouldn’t be making choices for others. Like what happens when they vote.

        2. You, OTOH, are qualified to make choices for that poor person.
          Fuck off, slaver.

        3. He can’t sell it, but that poor donor should be allowed to donate it for free? You are deeply stupid.

          1. He can’t sell it, but that poor donor should be allowed to donate it for free?

            That way we’ll all know the poor donor was doing it for the right reasons and not out of petty capitalist impulses.

            1. Thus while he dies poor, he’ll at least get into Proggie heaven?

        4. Ok, by your argument we can take this a long way. The poor shouldn’t have kids because they have less knowledge. The poor shouldn’t live on their own… etc, etc. etc. Obviously you think the poor are inferior.

          What about middle class – should they be able to sell their organs?

          1. I have no problem with poor, middle class, or rich people making decisions. But I do object to taking advantage of people. We have a history ripe with the poor being exploited. Organ donations sound like an new area ripe for this exploitation. So what are the safe guards that will insure the people making the donations are treated fairly?

            1. Propose a standardize process for transactions perhaps? Propose standardized forms written at a sixth grade level perhaps? You can stop being a purposely ignorant paternalistic ass though.

      3. Transplant surgery is hardly the way to go if you want to make money in medicine. There are few organ transplant centers and those tend to be university or public supported. It is an academic pursuit not so much commercial. This has zero to do with capitalism.

        Anyone with a background understands the issues. Human beings do have autonomy and medicine has certain ethical principles. To treat a person as a commercial crop to be harvested is anathema to all of those.

        1. It’s clear you don’t possess that background yourself.

          I received an emergency transplanted liver 10yrs ago this October. There was a line item on my $1.8M bill from the transplant center for my cadaveric organ. Why shouldn’t that money have gone to the family who lost their father/husband/son who’s organ is keeping me alive today? Of that $1.8M charged, they were the only ones who were truly altruistic and received nothing for their gift.

          I can promise you my dr’s and nurses don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts. Not even the “non-profit” OPO’s do it for free; they make money hand over fist. Everyone who facilitated my transplant did it for a very handsome fee – everyone except for the person whose organ made the entire event possible.

          1. Did you pay $1.8 million? What percent of that was collected?

            So did the family ever ask you for a dime and did you ever volunteer to pay something?

            I am very happy that you are doing well. Honestly. It is a wonderful thing that you were able to get this.

            I encourage more people to have a written protocol communicated and understood by close family to donate organs if it can be done. I do.

            Voluntary donation is encouraged. Generally it would best be a close family member for reasons of tissue match.

            There is no place for a market for human organs. That should be obvious.

    5. Jesus Christ. Organs HAVE to be a match between donor & recipient. Once a match is made, it would be a private transaction if buyer & seller can agree to a price.

  5. While people should be allowed to sell organs, the problem is that people have to sell their organs to survive.

    Welcome to what happens after 38+ years of trickle-down/supply-side Satanomics, aka Conmanitalism.

    Stop incentivizing the redistribution of the most of fruits of people’s labors upwards to the parasite class by returning the top marginal tax rate back to its natural, if one wants shared prosperity and a strong middle class, rate of around 90% (top effective rate of around 76%.)

    Make it retroactive, and if any in the parasite class claim that they no longer have the money – cut their organs out and put them on eBay to recover the money.

    1. Get up off of your knees.

    2. “While people should be allowed to sell organs, the problem is that people have to sell their organs to survive.”

      Why do dimbulb lefties always drag strawmen around?

  6. Stop incentivizing the redistribution of the most of fruits of people’s labors upwards to the parasite class by returning the top marginal tax rate back to its natural

    Thanks for that excellent lesson in how to turn any productive country into a festering socialist shithole, like Venezuela!

  7. I’ve got a hookup on a slightly used Hammond if anybody wants one

    1. I see what you did there.

    2. 2000? There’s no action left in this keyboard.

      Excuse me…

      1. I really miss Ray.

      2. My nightly music link nobody cares much about.

        The incomparable Willie Nelson

        Time just slips away.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iZaZqx9v3dU

  8. Serious question: what about post-mortem organ sales? Heirs can benefit (as can organ recipients), and this first step might reduce the squeamish factor.

    1. Someone commened on Stossel’s video yesterday that some funeral homes do that, but heirs wouldn’t be able to.

    2. Right after my transplant, I used to volunteer with an organ procurement center to encourage people to sign up for the organ registry.
      I actually think this might help – you wouldn’t believe what assholes people would act like when it was suggested they consider giving away something that could keep someone alive. It was almost as if knowing that the organs in their deceased bodies could be valuable to someone else made them want to “keep” their organs even more.
      I have no problem judging those types of people I met and saying that I assume even a minimal $1k would make them change their minds.

  9. “We are people who care about people who are different from us,” he replied, “and poorer than we are. That’s why we care.”

    And those people who are different from us need us to plan their lives for them!!

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the racism and classism of the elitist left.

    1. “And those people who are different from us need us to plan their lives for them!!”

      Except for abortions. Poor people are able to work that decision out for themselves just fine.

      1. Give it time, and they’ll be forcing that “decision” too.

  10. Meth heads selling kidneys that get cleaned out in an organ pump and then flipped wholesale.

    What could go wrong?

    In principle I agree with compensation for organs, but I have met too many transplant surgeons. They get angry when potential donors recover and walk out of the hospital. I am no longer a registered organ donor.

    1. They get angry when potential donors recover and walk out of the hospital.

      Uh huh. Pissed off because a patient didn’t turn into a corpse that they could harvest.

      How about living, voluntary donors? Remember them? The donors that this article is about? Why shouldn’t they be compensated?

    2. You do know that transplant doctors are not the same doctors that work on potential donors, right?
      In fact, donors are not even typically in the same hospital as the recipient.
      My liver was flown on a private flight from LA to SF. And literally NO ONE I have met in the last 10yrs post transplant has echoed anything remotely close to your anecdote.
      But hey, don’t let the truth get in the way of your cool story.

  11. “…I have met too many transplant surgeons. They get angry when potential donors recover and walk out of the hospital…”

    Riiiight…

  12. This is what the nanny state looks like.
    They don’t want you to sell your organs because they know what’s best for you, like taking your guns, squashing your speech, violating your due process rights, and calling you a fascist if you disagree with them.
    Welcome to the New America.

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