Paying for Organ Donations

Each year more than 120,000 Americans in need of organ transplants are on waiting lists, more than 100,000 of those needing a kidney. Every day 30 people on those lists will die because an organ was not available.

To alleviate the critical shortage, Dr. Sally Satel, a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, along with a distinguished list of academics, sent a letter to President Obama asking that a new policy be forged that would provide compensation of organ donors and by extension encourage more people to donate.

“It would really blemish the gift,” says Laura Frnka-Davis of Life Gift, a local organ procurement company. She says in Texas about 13,000 are in need of an organ or tissue transplant, and in Houston alone there are about 3,000 people in need.

The law of the land is NOTA, the National Organ Transplant Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan 30 years ago this week.

“That framework (NOTA) really helped organ donation become an accepted way to treat people with organ failure,” says Frnka-Davis. “It brought organ donations from its infancy to a very sophisticated process without using financial incentives.” Frnka-Davis suggests the best course for the future is to encourage more people to become registered donors.

KTRH medical expert and Medical Director for the Center of Liver Disease and Transplantation at Houston Methodist Dr. Joe Galati thinks paying for organs is a bad idea.

“I think this is a very emotionally charged issue, I really believe you have to proceed with caution anytime you talk about the exchange of money for organ donation. There has to be some incentive in the program to be either a cadaver donor or a live donor but the idea of selling organs is going to be very, very difficult to work out,” Dr. Galati tells KTRH News.

Dr. Galati says if money is involved the wealthy and influential will benefit and the poor may not.

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