Chapter 16 : Allocation of Resources: Scarcity and Triage

Section 5. Case Study PAYING_FOR_PARTS

Call to Study Paying for Organs


June 19, 2002

Chicago - The American Medical Association called for research yesterday into whether financial payments would boost the nation's critical shortage of transplant organs.

The AMA's policy-making House of Delegates voted at its annual meeting to adopt the measure against the recommendation of a committee, which heard from doctors Sunday who said that such payments would be unethical and that even studying them would cheapen the value of organ donation.

Testimony that appeared to sway the delegates yesterday included a plea from Dr. Phil Berry Jr. of Dallas, who said he would be dead if he had not received an organ transplant 16 years ago to replace a liver ravaged by hepatitis B.

His lifesaver, a 32-year-old woman who died of a brain aneurysm, had indicated before her death that she wanted to be an organ donor.

"In a perfect world, altruism would be all that would be needed" to encourage more organ donation, Berry, 65, told the delegates. "The fact is that we're losing the battle."

In the past decade, the number of organs donated nationwide annually has remained fairly steady at around 5,000 to 6,000, while the number of people who need transplants has jumped from about 20,000 to 80,000, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Last year, about 6,000 people died while on the U.S. transplant waiting list, according to UNOS.

Federal law prohibits financial incentives for organ donation, and research on the issue could require congressional waivers.

The AMA will not fund any research under the measure, but its voice is influential in Washington and it is now on record as endorsing such studies.




DESCRIPTION OF CASE: Recently the Ethics Committee of American Society of Transplant Surgeons published an paper supporting the need for a study to be conducted to determine if families were to receive compensation for organ donation would increase the amount of organs that are presently being donated. It is reported that there are only 40-60% of families giving consent for organ donation. The committee feels that if non-direct compensation such as reimbursement of funeral costs will increase numbers. It was stated the House of Representatives passed a bill in March 2001, that paid various expenses those living donors who give kidneys or other organs to a low income recipient. The Committee hopes to initiated a study to see their proposed reimbursement would work.


Small Donation to Organ Donors Should Be Studied

Wed May 1,11:32 AM ET

Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK

Compensation push by organ families

Organ Exchanges Push Boundaries

New Tactics to Attract Living Donors Raise Issues of Ethics and Altruism

Living Organ Donors Outpace Dead

Tue Apr 23, 2:47 PM ET

By LAURA MECKLER, Associated Press Writer

New approaches increase organ donations

Hospitals learn to talk to families

By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff, 4/26/2002



Surgeons Back Study Of Payment for Organs

Plan Aimed at Boosting Donor Rates

By Susan Okie

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 30, 2002; Page A0

Society for Organ Allocation Reform (SOAR) - committed to increasing public awareness, encouraging legislation to make donation easier, and altering official priorities allocating organs.

LifeGift Organ Donation Center - ethically, effectively and efficiently recovering appropriately transplantable organs and tissue to give the gift of life.

More sites about: Texas > Health Organizations

The Presumed Consent Foundation - advocates legislation that would make presumed consent for organ donation in the U.S. the status quo, with an opt-out option.


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Copyright Philip A. Pecorino 2002. All Rights reserved.

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