Its Hard Out There for a VP
I’ve long been very interested in organ donors and transplants. In fact, I think about it almost every time I use my ID to damage some of my organs (not too much though, I promise). Organ donation is the gift of life and there are so many stories of how much good a deceased person’s organs can do. They give people a new lease on life. That’s tangible. That’s real. That’s why I’m an organ donor and you should be too! Take the diagram below.
Pretty incredible. These stories happen all over the country. What got me first interested to learn more about organ donor-ship and transplantation was the death of Chris Henry. As an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan since middle school, I remember watching the up and down career of this player on a team of players that I rooted for and cared about each Sunday. When he died unexpectedly, I was shocked when I heard about the good that his organs continued to do even after his passing. Every day, someone’s life is changed by a selfless gift.
What brought the issue to mind more recently was this story about former Vice President Cheney’s 20 month long wait for a heart transplant. How could a man of his stature have to wait that long for a heart? It made me think: “Was it possible that others with the same predicament had to wait much longer for such a gift?” It turns out, its true:
Mr. Cheney’s wait for a new heart was not unusual, though it appeared to be longer than the average wait, which has varied in recent years from six months to a year, according to several studies. In June 2010, 3,153 patients were on the waiting list for a heart transplant, and 80 were awaiting a heart-lung transplant, the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation reported last year.
Patients on the list generally have to be ready to rush to the hospital when a suitable donor is found, so there is little notice before a transplant takes place. It is not unusual for recipients not to know the identity of their donor; notification is determined by the rules of organ donation networks and the wishes of the donor’s family.
I wish I had the ability to study this special gift. However, I’m neither a bio-statistician nor a health economist. However, I agree with the premise that we should be doing more to increase the pool of organ donors in our society. There are so many moral and ethical issues at play here, or for that matter in any issue about life or death or what happens after it. Whether its redesigning the market for organ donations or discussing compensating people for organ donations, I think its worthwhile discussing what else can be done without taking the decision out of a family’s hand regarding a loved ones. Organ donation is a gift. If you aren’t an organ donor, I would strongly ask you to consider or reconsider it. It could mean the world to somebody out there.
Go to www.donatelife.net or www.organdonor.gov/index.html for more information.
Kessler, Judd B. and Alvin E. Roth, ” Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate,” American Economic Review, 2011.
Leider, Stephen and Alvin E. Roth, ”Kidneys for sale: Who disapproves, and why?” American Journal of Transplantation , 10 (May), 2010, 1221-1227.