Posts Tagged ‘Transplant ethics’

This terrific and thoughtful blog post is WAAAAY over my non-math-oriented head, but I enjoyed reading it … so I’m sure any of you who are more mathematically inclined will enjoy it even more.

The blogger writes about a married couple — mathemetician Sommer Gentry and Johns Hopkins transplant surgeon Dorry Segey — who were principal researchers in a paper about how a mathematic algorithm might be applied to pairing thousands of potential donors with thousands of potential kidney recipients in a giant, graceful swap.  The paper they wrote suggests that such a mathematical solution could be a major part of the solution to the organ shortage for kidney recipients, provided it is paired with the appropriate controls to protect social justice and other sociological issues.  (At least, I think that’s what it said! :))

Wow.  This idea might be worth cracking out my old algebra book to understand better!


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If you care to follow the debate on whether living organ donors should be compensated as a part of the solution to the organ shortage, you are bound to find a steady supply of fodder.  It is everywhere lately, it seems —in ill-researched blog posts, in contentious radio shows hosted by blow-hards, in newspaper op-ed columns and hastily written letters to the editor, on righteous “about us” pages of new pro-compensation non-profits, and in high-brow magazines like the Economist (where writers tend to act responsibly).

Sally Satel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C.) has joined the fray with this January 30  article for The American, arguing in favor of donor compensation. Warning: wear your thinking cap when you read.  Satel uses classic logical structure and 25-cent vocabulary words to make her point.  It’s tougher than your average blog entry to follow, and refreshingly worth it. 

Yours, Altrustically…

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Sigh. There is so much hurt in the world — people suffering on organ waiting lists, people suffering from anger and resentment, people who are not at peace with themselves, their world, their gifts. Dr. Richard Batista, irritated by four years of divorce proceedings following his wife’s extramarital affair, is telling her now that he wants his kidney back, the one he donated to her a couple of years before she began the affair. Of course, in lieu of the kidney, he’s willing to take $1.5 million.

In his photo, he looks so incredibly sad. My heart goes out to anyone in pain, but he does not have my empathy on this one.  He admits, according to the article I’ve linked to above, that part of his motive in donating his kidney to his wife was to save their then-already-struggling marriage.  (Anyone else out there think maybe this current press war he’s starting isn’t really about the kidney????)

Point for the day, and a good piece of wisdom for future living donors to heed:  When we living donors give this greatest gift, we should be giving it freely. No strings. No conditions. It is a gift, not an IOU or an obligation.  We should not go into it with motive, or see our gifts as giving us some kind of permanent upper hand in our relationship with our recipient. 

For Dr. Batista and his wife, I pray for peace, especially that all too rare inner kind.

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