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Organ Transplants in Israel

Here’s an interesting article from Reuters about how Israel is trying to overcome a perceived religious objection to organ donation. (We’ve blogged previously about organ transplants in Israel here, and written on the subject in general here and here and here).

One quibble with the Reuters article, an example of journalistic innumeracy (or, worse, journalistic obfuscation), which reads like this: “Although Israel has an advanced health care system and is a world leader in medical advancement, only 260 organ transplants were conducted in 2005. In the United States, about 73 are carried out per day.”

The problem is comparing the number of transplants in two countries when one country has 300 million people and the other has about 6 million people. That makes the U.S. population about 50 times larger than Israel’s. Israel has “only” 260 transplants a year, which is a rate of .71 per day. If you transpose that rate onto a population the size of the U.S. — .71 x 50 — you get 35 transplants per day. Which is about half the U.S. rate. Yes, that’s a lot fewer transplants, but not nearly as many fewer as the article tries to make you believe.