Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ten at one blow

One further thought on National Donor Day. The famous fairy tale "Seven at one blow" reminds us of the power of a succinct summary.

So I was moved by this Australian white paper on organ transplantation, which highlights the phrase

"One donor can save the lives of up to ten people."

Since the paper talks about both deceased donation (of multiple organs) and live kidney donation and kidney exchange, that could refer to several things. I suspect they are thinking of deceased donors of multiple organs. But (and this is what first caught my eye), they could also be referring to the first non-simultaneous extended altruistic donor chain, organized by Mike Rees (see this post too), which accomplished ten transplants (here are the pictures of the donors and recipients from People magazine). Since then, long, non-simultaneous chains have started to become a common form of kidney exchange.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

The National Marrow Donor Program has been allowing for free registration. Registration for their donor program is usually expensive because it requires specific genetic matches and thus they require an expensive DNA test.

In any case, I registered, they sent me some cheek swabs and the return envelope. It took 5 minutes and maybe I will have the opportunity to donate for someone who needs a transplant.

The link is here:

But briefly, to get back to the repugnance and economic market for transplants, Al maybe you can shed some light on why marrow donors are asked to pay $100 to register. Add to this cost the uncertainty that your marrow will match at all and I'm surprised they get any donations. What are the search costs like in hospitals? Is it fairly easy (cheap) to assess the viability of an organ for harvesting? Does the hospital provide these services for a fee?

Also, consider if the registry for marrow allowed recipients to compensate the donors, donors would have simply to invest something along the lines of $100 for the chance to receive payment for a marrow transplant. Compare this to blood donation or organ donation which is, as far as my experience, free to register. The search costs are carried by some other party.