OPINION: Donating an organ in New Zealand, is the freely given gift of life to a person who may otherwise die.
Choosing to be a donor is not cheap and there is currently limited financial support for donors through their recovery period. Lack of support can mean a significant drop in income due to the amount of time away from work and being unable to contribute fully to family life until recovered.
They've already given a kidney, why should they pay for that?
We need to rethink our approach to compensating organ donors for their expenses and recognise the potential for maximising a win-win situation. The person needing the organ gets to live a longer and better life, contribute to a community and a family, and continue to pay taxes. The rest of us get to benefit from significant savings across the health system.
The best example of this win-win is the case of kidney donation against dialysis for those suffering permanent kidney failure.
A recent report by economist Elizabeth Prasad, published by the New Zealand Initiative, shows the Ministry of Health provides dialysis services to more than 2,500 patients at an average annual cost of more than $60,000 each. Prasad estimates that a living donor transplant saves the health system about $125,000 per donation, over the life of the patient. Continue reading