The number of patients who need to transplant an organ in the Unites States has been increasing steadily over the years. The increase of patients has led to a significant shortage of needed organs; therefore ways to meet the demand have been sought. It is argued that the shortage can be reduced if members of the public are given financial incentives. However, selling of any organ is prohibited by law. No human organ should be bought and sold. People have argued that incentives given to any donors of organs, whether direct payments or even tax credits, would induce people to carry out organ donation. The issue of unregulated market of the various organs has emerged, which can have dire effects on the public. The government and people of America have analyzed the subject with no clear solution of the problem (Childress 25).
The biggest argument considering the organs donation annually concerns kidney’s transportation. People have been given incentives to donate their kidneys, which motivates them to undergo surgery. The need for kidneys has been increasing over the years. Many people having problems with kidney try to find a donor. This organ is one of the few that can be transplanted without putting a patient’s life at risk. Every human has two kidneys; however person’s organism can function normally with one kidney. The transplantation of deceased people’s organs cannot meet the demand of thousands of people in the waiting list, in hospitals. This results in finding other ways to get more donors, which includes getting financial incentives
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Since the use of financial incentives in the donation process is prohibited, the first step towards meeting the demand would be to get rid of the obstacles hindering this process. The donor’s altruism should not cause him/ her financial loss. For example, there is a high risk of developing complications during the surgical process to transplant an organ. Donors may need additional medical treatment after being operated. They may even lose their jobs. Therefore, it is necessary to give a form of incentive or compensation for donors. The National Kidney Foundation proposes to compensate such cases and has asked the government to release donors from paying tax. This is not direct compensation, and it is aimed at catering for the expenses the donor has during the whole process of donation until full recovery. They argue that compensation is the right thing to do for a donor who risks his life to save another person’s life. The consequences of surgery cannot be predictable (Childress 56).
Compensation is the valuable thing to do for donors as it would also ease their concerns of the risk involved in the surgical process. Many Americans still live without health insurance. Reimbursements will hence turn out to be useful in routine life. This is in case they do not get compensation at work as a result of their condition caused by the transplantation. However, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons is in favor of the elimination of incentives. This is because they have a plan to compensate any physical loss caused by an organ donation. Donors need to apply for the compensation, stating the details of their medical state and the extent of their complication (Childress 102).
A situation can be created where donors are paid and not only reimbursed for the organ donated. A regulated system should be set up where financial incentives are given to the donors and can lead to a financial gain. The incentive can be in monetary terms or even an indirect compensation like covering their medical insurance for the rest of their lives. However, the main issue is that legalization of the donation incentives can create a ready organ market. The financially able people can exploit this and buy organs from the poor any time they wish. If money incentives are involved in the organ donation process, it would lead to a ready market for the organs. Once the market is created, it becomes hard to control it since there is no official record for transactions between a donor and a buyer. The market would be uncontrollable, and the rich would get a good platform to exploit the poor who need the money for survival. Mostly the risk involved in organ donation would not be equivalent to the compensation paid to the poor. Also, no financial compensation would be made in case complications occur since there is no written proof of the agreement between a donor and a buyer (Bramstedt 56).
The situation can be controlled by involving surgical experts who can examine the patients donating organs to determine if they are fit for the operation. Organ trafficking has been on the increase in countries like Pakistan and India, and the scheme would regulate the practice. In case the organ donation process is unregulated; a middle man emerges between a patient and a donor. The middle man cares only about money and has no interest considering the health of the poor donor who is at risk to suffer from complications. The involvement of the surgical experts would ensure that the process is formal with written evidence of the agreement. Focus would also be placed on the safety of the patient and the likely complications that could occur after the surgery. During the regulation of the system, I think poor people should be excluded because normally there is a connection between poverty and kidney complications. In case an exchange is done from an extremely poor donor, neither party will benefit. However, it is up to the surgeons to examine the donor to establish his viability, and medical condition. Not involving the poor people in the donation process would also reduce the risk of exploitation from the rich. On the other hand, some poor people are capable of making sound decisions that apply to the organ donation issue too (Bramstedt 82).
In the proposed system, the government would have to pay for the incentives and any complications that occur later. It is expensive for a patient in need of a transplant to stay in hospital. Government should support people who have the possibility to donate an organ. If the system is allowed, the donations would be done in the same way they are done with deceased donors. UNOS had drafted an agreement with the government of the United States to oversee the procurement of organs and the process of transplantation. People looking for organ donations would be matched against their donors according to the rules set by UNOS. It is a much enhanced way to allot the donated organs to the needy patients, and it would also work for live donors. It would also ensure that both the rich and poor members of the society would have equal chances of getting an organ transplant. It would level the ground for all citizens and reduce the socioeconomic discrimination. The organs needed would be allocated according to medical merit and not the financial ability of a person. If the shortage of demand for organ donors is reduced, it would lead to a significant decrease in organ trafficking, in the US and other nations. The trafficking of organs is still rampant because the wealthy countries are able to pay for it causing a disparity flanked by the demand and supply of the required organs (Gruessner 14).
People who are against the donor incentives claim that there is a massive risk involved in the case. America has been undergoing an economic downfall for the past few years, and it is in the process of recovering. It is hard to regulate the market of any product, including the organ’s transplantation. Some religious groups would also be against the fact of providing incentives for organ donations. This would lead to a boycott by the members of the religious groups, and they can decide to stay away from donating organs. The result would be a deficit in the number of donors, which would not help in the treatment of needy patients. If the government allows the idea of having incentives for donors, regulation would still need to be put in place to ensure exploitation does not occur. Many people do not provide their organs while they are alive because of lack of financial incentives (Gruessner 86).
Many Americans are for the idea of introduction monetary incentives to the donors, but it still gets some opposition from the reserved population. If the incentives are to be introduced, pilot projects should be studied first on the different systems that are likely to be introduced. The pilot projects can first be undertaken in some areas in the country, especially those with a history of high levels of organ donations. The research can be carried out by professionals, and the results documented for proper analysis. For any study or pilot project to be undertaken, the laws by the National Organ Transplant would have to be lifted first. However, the USA still has a long way to go until the monetary incentives for donors can be accepted by the majority of citizens. A radical solution is needed because every day the list of patients requiring an organ donation for survival is increasing (Gruessner 92).
I think organ donors should be given a considerable compensation because they put their lives at risk by undergoing the surgical process. It can have complications later, and the donor might suffer the consequences without assistance from anybody. However, regulation should be enhanced to ensure unscrupulous people do not exploit those with lack of knowledge or finances. The government should be aggressively involved in each stage of the enactment of the Act with heavy penalties set for those who go against the set protocol. The American citizens should also be provided with all the essential information on the organ donation process and incentives.
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