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Organ Donations

We're up to our eyeballs in eyeballs
  [vote for,

Only 13%* of people nationwide are registered organ donors. I suspect it’s low because there is no incentive for an individual to register as a donor, except out of the goodness of their heart.

I suggest slightly modifying the methodology used to allocate organs as they become available. Obviously, certain factors like blood type, organ size, etc could not be changed. But what if the factors included whether the possible organ recipients had been a registered organ donor (before the need for the organ arose)? The underlying reasoning is, given two equally needy recipients, shouldn’t the organ go to the individual who registered as an organ donor?

Take it a step further, add additional weight based on the number of years that individual has been registered, if their family is registered, if they’re registered with National Marrow Donor Program, if they give blood regularly, if they will donate their body to science, or if that person willingly donated a health organ(!) etc. Now, an individual considering registering recognizes a possible benefit for themselves.

Still need an incentive to cough up a kidney? I recently spoke to G. Bush. I described this programs need for exposure and some type of enticement. Sure enough if he didn’t suggest another ......tax incentive! Set the (total) incentive equal to the reduced health care cost (= to less people on expensive life sustaining equipment - kidney dialysis, heart/lung machines) plus the benefit of returning a productive member of society (big assumptions made here) back to the work place.

*http://www.sos.state.il.us/departments/drivers/programs/ registry.html

rdy4trvl, May 13 2004

The link as a link. http://www.sos.stat...grams/registry.html
[jutta, Oct 17 2004]

Illinois OPO http://www.giftofhope.org
good info on how and why to become a donor [xclamp, Oct 17 2004]

United Network for Organ Sharing http://www.unos.org
tons of info, data, news and ideas like this one... [xclamp, Oct 17 2004]

Similar idea http://www.globalid...dea.php?ideaId=3417
Organ donors given priority on organ waiting lists [GIB, Oct 17 2004]

...and slightly different one... http://www.globalid...dea.php?ideaId=3510
Organ donors get free cremation [GIB, Oct 17 2004]

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       I can't see this working as i suspect that people may cynically exploit this system, however where it to be implemented sign me yup as i am having fun knackering up the organs in my body and may need spares soon.   

       As for giving blood etc as per your idea there are problems here the blood service in the UK has restictions on who can give blood based on medical history, medication taken etc.
engineer1, May 13 2004

       How effective is it, really, to indicate "organ donor" on your driver's license? Should I register elsewhere? Once I'm done with this stuff, someone else might as well have it.   

       ...great, now I'm going to have that John Prine song stuck in my head all day...
half, May 13 2004

       [half] by all means register to be a donor and then let your family know in no uncertain terms that it is very important to you. some U.S. states (22 at last count) and some countries have 'first person consent' laws which obviate the need for your family's consent, but your family should feel good about the donation nonetheless and sharing your feelings with them will make that possible and hopefully aid them in their grieving.   

       as for the idea here, it is far, far, far from original, but well intentioned. as [engineer1] points out, it is probably exploitable, it favors healthy people, and it favors the educated. as for financial incentives, this is debatable (currently illegal in the u.s.) and constantly debated, and may be tried one day.   

       but tax exemptions are only meaningful if you are wealthy to begin with, other incentives mean nothing to the wealthy and they can be seen as coercion of the poor. these are 2 arguments against, there are many on both sides.   

       my experience working with families in the organ donation field (and numerous studies) demonstrate that it is very difficult to make such a decision when your family member has just died and this, probably more than anything else, leads to them saying no when asked. lack of knowledge about the need for donor organs and myths and misconceptions about how donation works is a close second.   

       as for //plus the benefit of returning a productive member of society (big assumptions made here)//   

       rest assured, no assumption needs to be made.   

       so no croissant for the idea, but kudos for the sentiment. see the links. become a volunteer. talk to your family. live to 120.   

       *leaps from soapbox*
xclamp, May 13 2004

       I'd like to get recycled as much as possible, but I don't want any of this. I don't want decisions about the disposal of my organs to depend on a person's moral behavior - even if that judgement is made in good faith and according to well-known criteria.
jutta, May 13 2004

       opt-out rather than opt-in organ donation would be the single most useful leglislative change, as Spain, France etc. have done.

P.S. In Austria, a non-donor who requires a transplant is automatically placed at the end of the waiting list.
neilp, May 13 2004

       The Austrian system (as mentioned by neilp) seems fair enough for consenting adults but I hope that it doesn't apply to kids. As regards tax incentives, no! You might be happy to pay more taxes than somebody else because they're beliefs or morals are different but I certainly am not.

Also, nobody should be able to cannibalise another's body for spare parts unless the donor has given consent, otherwise it's just grave-robbing. So I completely disagree with neil's comment about opt-out.
DrBob, May 14 2004

       but you have consent. they didn't opt out.
etherman, May 14 2004

       So if the government send out a form saying that they want all your money and will be taking it out of your account at the end of the month unless you opt out of the scheme then you'd be quite happy with that, would you?
DrBob, May 14 2004

       polls have demonstrated quite a bit of resistance to an opt-out system in the U.S. the idea gets quashed pretty rapidly whenever it surfaces.   

       it's (the concept of) the act of choosing to do good that USians like. it's as much the 'stepping up' they like as the act itself. opt-out takes that aspect out of it, it makes your only 'choice' the choice to 'step down' which is, well, un-USian.   

       on a personal level i don't have a problem with it. bottom line is, either opt-out or opt-in is only ideal, or fair even, when people understand what they're opting for or against. that takes a lot of education.
xclamp, May 14 2004

       // given two equally needy recipients, shouldn’t the organ go to the individual who registered as an organ donor? //   

       Absolutely not. Why should that make someone more deserving? You think that because non-donor-man wants to keep all of his parts (the selfish bastard!), he'll have to wait to get parts from someone else?   

       That's foolish. People have a right to keep their parts and shouldn't be treated differently because of it, especially about matters of life and death.   

       And I agree with the good doctor. I think the opt-out idea is ludicrous, and probably unconstitutional in the US. I'm a donor and I disagree with that one bigtime.   

       half, in Connecticut, they just passed legislation ensuring that the driver's license option is binding and not dependent on the consent of surviving relatives, whether or not the back of the license is signed.
waugsqueke, May 14 2004

       Why dont people realize there is a huge supply of possible organs going to waste every day...Just think how many people are put on death row every year, and are killed thropugh the Justice system... why cxouldn't their organs be harvested and put to a better use... If they are sentenced to die, why does it matter how specifically they die , poison, gas, hanging, etc, etc, but if thy are dying anyway... why not?
randyg, May 15 2004


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