Monday, June 27, 2011

Options for nondirected kidney donors

There was a time not long ago when nondirected kidney donation was so unusual that donors had few options. Recent developments in kidney exchange, in particular long nonsimultaneous nondirected donor chains have changed that. Yesterday's NY Times Magazine's column The Ethicist starts with the following question:

"A few months ago, I signed up to be a living kidney donor to help someone in need who was not related to me. Recently I was told that I was a match for a local 16-year-old. But if I were to enroll in the national kidney registry, my donation could facilitate a donor chain, potentially benefiting 5 or 10 patients. Should I help one person now or several people in the future? It’s hard to say no to a child, yet does the good of the many outweigh the good of the one in this case?"

1 comment:

Joshua Gans said...

Actually, the advice the donor was getting is surely wrong. At the moment, he is probably the only person to help the 16 year old. However, there are surely substitute donors who could complete the chain -- which itself sounds like a hypothetical maximum.

A bird in the hand ...