Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coroner: Say no to organ donor financial incentives

I certainly don’t agree with financial incentives for organ donation. Seems like a step onto a slippery slope to me.
…the AMA adopted policy calling for the modification of current law to allow pilot studies on financial incentives for cadaveric organ donation…
The AMA already supports study into financial incentives for cadaveric organ donation…
Voluntary organ donation remains important, but motivational incentives that could increase organ donations — including financial incentives — must be studied

I know that there is a shortage of organs available for transplantation, but there has to be another way to increase donations. I like the commercials with Walter Payton’s children talking about its importance/value. More opportunities like that seem like a much better idea to me.


Dave said...

Financial incentives for organ donation would save thousands of lives every year. As the organ shortage continues to grow, public opinion will eventually support a legal organ market and changes in public policy will follow.

In the mean time, there is an already-legal way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- allocate donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die. The United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the national organ allocation system, has the power to make this simple policy change. No legislative approval is required.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Americans who want to donate their organs to other registered organ donors don't have to wait for UNOS to act. They can join LifeSharers, a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Anonymous said...

I want to first commend "Dave" for his involvment about organ donations, however, I strongly disagree with him.

Having been one to sign a consent for a loved one and working for a time in the "field" for tissue donation, it has been my experience that financial incentives would backfire and less organs would be donated.

For one, who would pay? The reciepient, who probably is already overwhelmed with medical bills? The insurance companies? The donor organizations?

What I have experienced in the field is that there are not more organ donors because the families were never approached, or the doctors/nurses were mis-informed about what criteria there is for organ donation. Perhaps the money would be best spent in educating the hospitals and potential donors.

Most importantly though, is the surviving families. It is comforting when at the funeral you hear comments such as, "How good to donate". Will comments such as these change to, "How good, you made some money to help pay for the funeral."? I believe that would discourage families from donating if there could be any hint that they did it for the money.

As the Visa commercial says, "some things are priceless!"