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As always, faced with a system that doesn’t work well, patients with the gumption have taken matters into their own hands — and wallets. An old pal of mine, also going for his third kidney transplant, got in touch with me to urge me to solicit a kidney from my friends, church members, and associates. I did that, and ultimately found several willing donors. One survived the testing process, and was willing to donate to the swap program at my hospital. The database of potential paired transplant donations is being run now, and I should know within a couple of weeks whether or not I have a kidney.
The head doc of the transplant program here advised me to wait until the fall to see what the database turns up — it changes regularly. If I don’t have a kidney by that time, I will take a short trip to Tampa and register with a transplant center there. The waiting time for a cadaver transplant — from accident victims, mostly — is shorter in Florida than in the Northeast. I do not have to move to Tampa. I can simply be ready to hop a plane at a moment’s notice. It’s expensive, but lots cheaper than living the way I’m living now
PREFERABLY, TWO PROGRAMS OUGHT TO BE IMPLEMENTED. First, there ought to be a national program of reimbursal for “Good Samaritan” donors — people willing to donate either to an individual or to a medical center’s swap program. Put simply, you ought to be able to sell a kidney, or have yours heirs do so. Second, instead of asking people to designate themselves as organ donors through the driver’s license programs of various states, it ought to flip over: People would be presumed donors unless they explicitly opt out.
This is called “presumed consent,” and it exists in Portugal and Italy, where dialysis is minimal and transplant common. Unfortunately, an irreducible population of idiots in this country remains convinced that doctors wait, Frankenstein-like, scalpels at the ready, to turn an accident victim into a dugout canoe before he’s really dead.
Ideally, both policies would work together. Presumed consent would tend to keep the otherwise-inflationary price for selling an organ down.
SO WHAT’S THE OBJECTION, IN THE MEANTIME, to Internet dating for organ donors? Several statistical realities.
Organ donations are matched up by blood type. As my doc told me, “The ABs cycle through very fast, because blood type is not an issue.” An AB can receive a donation from anyone. Meantime, Bs, Os, and As wait, and are likely to be among the sickest cited by Tom Simon in his smarmy op-ed.
Internet matchups do little or nothing to even out regional inequities in waiting time. They do nothing much, at least intentionally, to alleviate the generalized, ill-distributed, suffering of the waiting population of transplant candidates. And they will tend to give kidneys, like Mr. Simon’s, to those applicants who, naturally or by design, ring all the right Oprah-like bells to move Mr. Simon’s and his cohort’s questionable consciences.
Make no mistake, Good Samaritan donorship is in the wind these days. Transplant medical centers are filled with literature on the subject from the National Kidney Foundation, the very establishment of transplant.
It all helps. But it’s still not enough.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?