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Author Topic: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?  (Read 981 times)

joeyforpresident

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Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« on: December 28, 2006, 08:53 PM NHFT »


I've never agreed with the conventional wisdom of being a "donor." If you can spend thousands to get a degree (in hopes of having a company pay you for your brain), why can't we sell a lung or something?
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error

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2006, 08:57 PM NHFT »

Because some people have a strangely fucked up sense of "ethics" in which you can have your organs forcibly taken from you, and you can give them away, but you can't sell them.

As a consequence, desperately needed organs are almost never available.
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joeyforpresident

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2006, 10:58 PM NHFT »


Something tells me I wouldn't use "error" to do surgery on me ;)
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Spencer

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 11:26 PM NHFT »

The Economist (November 16, 2006 issue) recently advocated for a free market approach to the organ market:

Quote
Psst, wanna buy a kidney?
Governments should let people trade kidneys, not convict them for it

IF THEY were just another product, the market would work its usual magic: supply would respond to high prices and rise to meet surging demand. But human kidneys are no ordinary commodity. Trading them is banned in most countries. So supply depends largely on the charity of individuals: some are willing to donate one of their healthy kidneys while they are still alive (at very little risk to their health); others agree to let their kidneys be used when they die. Unsurprisingly, with altruism the only incentive, not enough people offer.

Kidneys are the subject of a quietly growing global drama. As people in the rich world live longer and grow fatter, queues for kidneys are lengthening fast: at a rate of 7% a year in America, for example, where last year 4,039 people died waiting. Doctors are allowing older and more sluggish kidneys to be transplanted. Ailing, rich patients are buying kidneys from the poor and desperate in burgeoning black markets. One bigwig broker may soon stand trial in South Africa (see article). Clandestine kidney-sellers get little medical follow-up, buyers often catch hepatitis or HIV, and both endure the consequences of slap-dash surgery.

The Iranian model

In the face of all this, most countries are sticking with the worst of all policy options. Governments place the onus on their citizens to volunteer organs. A few European countries, including Spain, manage to push up supply a bit by presuming citizens' consent to having their organs transplanted when they die unless they specify otherwise. Whether or not such presumed consent is morally right, it does not solve the supply problem, in Spain or elsewhere. On the other hand, if just 0.06% of healthy Americans aged between 19 and 65 parted with one kidney, the country would have no waiting list.

The way to encourage this is to legalise the sale of kidneys. That's what Iran has done. An officially approved patients' organisation oversees the transactions. Donors get $2,000-4,000. The waiting list has been eliminated.

Many people will find the very idea of individuals selling their organs repugnant. Yet an organ market, in body parts of deceased people, already exists. Companies make millions out of it. It seems perverse, then, to exclude individuals. What's more, having a kidney removed is as safe as common elective surgeries and even beauty treatments (it is no more dangerous than liposuction, for example), which sets it apart from other types of living-organ donation. America already lets people buy babies from surrogate mothers, and the risk of dying from renting out your womb is six times higher than from selling your kidney.

With proper regulation, a kidney market would be a big improvement on the current, sorry state of affairs. Sellers could be checked for disease and drug use, and cared for after operations. They could, for instance, receive health insurance as part of their payment—which would be cheap because properly screened donors appear to live longer than the average Joe with two kidneys. Buyers would get better kidneys, faster. Both sellers and buyers would do better than in the illegal market, where much of the money goes to the middleman.

Instinct often trumps logic. Sometimes that's right. But in this case, the instinct that selling bits of oneself is wrong leads to many premature deaths and much suffering. The logical answer, in this case, is the humane one.
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8173039

I loved the holier-than-thou, kneejerk anti-free market letter to the editor that followed:

Quote
The gift relationship

SIR – The failure of an altruistic system to provide enough donors for organ transplants may indeed lead some to embrace an alternative free-market approach (“Psst, wanna buy a kidney?”, November 18th). However, rather than abandon altruism, with its time-tested virtues, the system can be strengthened by incorporating an element of “strong reciprocity”, a phenomenon which refers to the tendency of individuals to reward those who adhere to fair play and punish those who do not.

Although altruism is more common when the recipient is known, economic research shows that it can operate anonymously when buttressed by strong reciprocity. In terms of organ donations, this could be done by adding an extra option to the question: “In the event of my death, I agree to the donation of my organs.” As well as the Yes/No options a third would state “Yes, with a preference to donate my organs to those who agreed to donate their organs.”

Some will take this third option to reward altruistic organ donors, who take some psychological cost by agreeing to donate. It also punishes selfish non-donors by creating doubt about the availability of organs for them. The only way to resolve this doubt is to agree to donate. Altruism is thereby enhanced by strong reciprocity and we could anticipate that the total number of donors would increase.

Dr Donald Landry
Professor of medicine
Columbia University

Dr Rosemary Sampogna
New York
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8348751
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Pat McCotter

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2006, 06:17 AM NHFT »

And don't forget some donor's medical complications/bills after the organ removal.
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2006, 07:33 AM NHFT »

I just put Joey's organs up on Ebay
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error

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2006, 08:13 AM NHFT »

Something tells me I wouldn't use "error" to do surgery on me ;)

I don't do surgery. But I've got a nice selection of kidneys for sale today.
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Kat Kanning

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2006, 08:20 AM NHFT »


I've never agreed with the conventional wisdom of being a "donor." If you can spend thousands to get a degree (in hopes of having a company pay you for your brain), why can't we sell a lung or something?

Sounds good.  Why don't you do that?
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KBCraig

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2006, 10:22 AM NHFT »

Ah, the myth of altruism.

The organ donor, of course, is the only one in the process who is not receiving something for their participation. The doctors, nurses, hospitals, and donor organizations are all handsomely rewarded. The recipient gets the organ, of course.
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David

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2006, 01:13 PM NHFT »

Nobody in this country should ever die from lack of availability of livers.  A healthy liver can repair itself easier than any other body part.  You can remove 75% of it, and it will grow back.  The gov't is killing people by criminalizing the sale of liver. 

That would be a crazy form of civil disobiedianc, to openly sell ones liver.   >:D ;D
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Braddogg

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Re: Why *shouldn't* I be able to sell my body organs?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2006, 05:25 PM NHFT »

a_liberty_belle had a couple articles published on LewRockwell.com on this topic.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/murphy-s1.html
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/murphy-s2.html
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