Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 6, 2009 / 14 Tamuz 5769

A deadly organ-donor system

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Right on the heels of the recent news that Apple CEO Steve Jobs underwent a liver transplant came the speculation that he had somehow gamed the organ donation system in order to jump to the head of the waiting list. It was widely noted that Jobs's transplant took place at a hospital in Tennessee, some 2,000 miles from his home in California. That suggests he had registered with more than one regional transplant center. Multiple registrations aren't against the rules but they can be an expensive proposition, since the patient must be able to travel at a moment's notice when the organ becomes available, and since insurance companies generally won't pay for evaluations at more than one hospital. Jobs, a billionaire, may thus have benefited, frets USA Today, from "a loophole that favors the rich."


Had Jobs traveled to Tennessee to consult a highly sought-after medical specialist, or to acquire a piece of cutting-edge medical equipment, or to undergo a rare and difficult brain operation — or to buy a Smoky Mountains mansion, for that matter — nobody would be grumbling about loopholes or wondering whether rules had been manipulated. When it comes to doctors' services or medical technology or surgical procedures — or real estate — people understand that suppliers generally charge what the market will bear.


The same economic system that generally makes good health care available to all does price certain products and services high enough that only the wealthy can afford them. It isn't news that the world's finest surgeon commands a high fee, or that the latest "miracle" drugs tend to be expensive, or that billionaires can afford things that mere mortals can't.


Yet when it comes to the donation of human organs, countless people believe that the market must be prevented from functioning.


Under current law, an organ may be transplanted to save a patient's life only if it was donated for free. Federal law makes it "unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation." The surgeon who performed Jobs's liver transplant, the hepatologist who diagnosed him, the anesthesiologist who managed his pain, the nurse who assisted during the procedure, the medical center that provided the facilities, the pharmacy that supplied his medications, even the driver who brought him to the hospital — all of them were paid for the benefits they rendered. Only the organ donor (or the donor's family, if the liver came from a cadaver) could receive nothing except the satisfaction that comes from performing an act of kindness.


That, many say, is as it should be: Organs should be donated out of goodness alone; otherwise the rich might exploit the poor. Others flatly oppose any hint of commerce in human organs. Opening the door to "financial incentives," declared the Institute of Medicine in 2006, could "lead people to view organs as commodities and diminish donations from altruistic motives."


Unfortunately, altruistic motives aren't enough. I carry an organ donor card and think everyone should, but only 38 percent of licensed drivers have designated themselves as organ donors. Thousands of organs that could be used to save lives and restore health are lost each year, buried or cremated with bodies that will never need them again.


No one would dream of suggesting that medical care is too vital or sacred to be treated as a commodity, or to be bought and sold like any other service. If the law prohibited any "valuable consideration" for healing the sick, and allowed doctors to practice medicine only if they did so for free, the result would be far fewer doctors and far more sickness and death.


The result of our misguided altruism-only organ donation system is much the same: too few organs and too much death. More than 100,000 Americans are currently on the national organ waiting list. Last year, 28,000 transplants were performed, but 49,000 new patients were added to the queue. As the list grows longer, the wait grows deadlier, and the shortage of available organs grows more acute. Last year, 6,600 people died while awaiting the kidney or liver or heart that could have kept them alive. Another 18 people will die today. And another 18 tomorrow. And another 18 every day, until Congress fixes the law that causes so many valuable organs to be wasted, and so many lives to be needlessly lost.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles