Incentivized Altruism

Only one in ten Israeli adults is an organ donor and the country is addressing the situation with an innovative new policy. Organ donors and their close relatives will now receive priority if they require a transplant. Jacob Lavee of the Sheba Medical Center said the new policy “provides an incentive for individuals to agree to help each other.” The policy will be widely publicized and will take effect in January 2011. (HT: Marginal Revolution) [%comments]

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  1. www.princetoncryo.com says:

    I have a cousin who has ALS, and stem cells are going to be the key to his cure. We follow religion too, but I don’t see the harm in taking benefit of new discoveries. Medical science is booming only because people need it and it is high time fundamentalists should change their stand.

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  2. K Sheridan says:

    This is the first of two posts – this one will address issues of eligibility, the second will address religious restrictions.

    First, alcoholics and drug addicts may find themselves in a pickle if they are ever in need of organs. Hospitals may refuse requests for inclusion on a transplant list because of drug or alcohol use. For example, most (if not all) transplant hospitals will require proof of extended sobriety if a patient’s liver failure (and thus their need for a transplant) is attributed to alcohol abuse.

    On a more personal note, I was shocked by the last two paragraphs of Mr. Colenso-Dunne’s comment. Organ donation is a medical procedure. The idea that because someone is Republican or religious that their organs are medically beneath you ridiculous, and the idea that just because someone is Republican or religious does not mean that your organs are more than they medically deserve similarly preposterous and obscenely selfish.

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  3. K Sheridan says:

    Second post, on religious issues. I’ve chosen to focus on Judaism, since the original post was about a new policy enacted in Israel.

    A rabbi associated with the Conservative movement led a seminar series on medical ethics not too long ago at a synagoge near my home, and one session was devoted to organ donation. He explained that answer Judaism can give about organ donation is that the preservation of life overrides every other mitzvoh, including the prohibition of the desecration of the body. In fact, the preservation of life is one of the three mitzvoh that are so important that they may come before the preservation of one’s own life. Therefore, most branches and movements of Judaism not only allow but encourage organ donation, assuming that certain provisions (like the identification of a specific recipient and the verification of death for brain-dead donors, and the assurance of a low risk of death for live kidney/liver donors) are fulfilled.
    Disclaimer: There are, of course, other interpretations, but my understanding is that the above perspective on organ donation is the most widely accepted view by far.

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  4. hilary says:

    They sorted out that people that donate their organs get first go when they need organs. I understand this but there will be some problems to sorted out.Here’s one.

    Obviously children can’t sign up until they are around 16 or get a drivers license. Imagine a 16 yr old driver (that has become a organ donor) takes a 16 yr old friend (that hasn’t signed up to be a organ donor but plans to when she get her drivers license) to go for a drive. While driving there is an accident and both of the teenagers sustain heavy injuries. They are rushed to hospital where they both need the same organ transplant.If there is only one in the hospital. Who will get the organ?

    The driver that is a organ donor

    or the passenger that is not a organ donor but is a victim of a accident that the driver might have caused?

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