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Donations Of Life

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Autor:   •  April 1, 2011  •  1,116 Words (5 Pages)  •  608 Views

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After contracting a mild case of the flu, doctors told 21-year-old Lisa that her heart would last her for no more than 3 more months. Her only hope was to get a new heart. A month later, 20-year-old Sally was in an automobile accident and suffered severe head injures and died. Her heart could have saved Lisa's life. When Sally's parents were asked if they would allow their daughter's heart to be donated, however, their hysteria and grief over just losing their young child was too great. They refused to donate Sally's heart, and less than a month later, Lisa also died. Unfortunately, this is an all too common experience among potential organ donors. This is a story told by, a heart surgeon, Dr. Robert Sade.

Cadaver organ transplantation saves many lives; however, it could be saving more. Too many people unnecessarily die each year due to lack of organ donations. Not only have I spent hours discussing such issues with my uncle, who is the medical director of LifePoint, South Carolinas organ procurement agency, but I have done some other research as well.

As a result of this study, I have concluded that the problem of organ donation could be solved or significantly lessened if financial incentives were legalized for donors or their families.

(Transition: First, lets start with problem about the organ waiting list)


I. S.L. Gortman wrote that the problem is that more than 6,000 people on the transplant waiting list unnecessarily die every year because the donation rate is so low: less than half of potential donors actually become donors.

A. According to the United Network of Sharing Organs, one patient is added to the transplant waiting list every 14 minutes. Also, One patient on the waiting list dies every 80 minutes while waiting for an organ that never came.

C. Ever since the early 1980s, there have been more people wait-listed than there are available organs.

1. S.L. Gortman also wrote that only about 35% of suitable donors donate, and each donor may provide from one to eight organs, but, on average, 3.2 donate, thus, 65% of suitable organs are buried or cremated.

(Transition: Now that you know a little about the problem about the waiting list, lets talk about the cause of the problem.)

II. The cause of this problem is quite a complex one.

A. Robert Sade wrote that families have many reasons not to donate organs of a deceased loved one, such as the emotional stresses arising from the sudden death of a loved one, desire to keep body intact for religious or personal reasons, among others; however, the only legally acceptable incentive currently is purely altruism.

B. The law that prohibits any valuable consideration for a transplant organ was drafted in 1984 by Congressman Al Gore

1. According to the National Organ Transplant Act, to avoid turning organ transplantation into a commercial transaction, Congress forbade any valuable consideration, an extremely broad term, for donating an organ.

2. Although this prohibition of all valuable considerations for organ donation was focused mainly on payment to living donors, the law was so broad that it also forbade paying for funeral expenses, allowing tax credits to the estates of donors, transporting the donor's body back to their home town, etc.

(Transition: Now that you know about the cause of the problems, lets move on to the solution)

III. Though there are many causes to this lethal problem, the solution may not be as complex.

A. We clearly have much to gain from increasing organ supply, and something must be done.

1. Increasing donation rate will decrease death rates and increase overall health of those on the waiting list.

2. Barnett and Kaserman have said that increasing donation rate will decrease the costs of performing operations.

B. People have realized this problem and several laws have already been made to try to increase the level of donation under the current system; however none of them have worked.

C. What I am proposing is that financial incentives should not be prohibited, as the current law has it.

1. Receiving gifts of considerable value should only be effective for organ donation, not for distribution; in other words, a person in need of a new kidney may not buy a kidney


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