Where’s The Safety Net? Living Organ Donors Are People, Too

Sigrid Fry-Revere TEDMED speaker, author, teacher, clinical ethicist, farmer, and mother of four. Currently CEO of the American Living Organ Donor Network

What ever happened to being honest and fair? Yes, people are dying who need organs, but living organ donors are people, too. Recent movements to encourage living organ donation are misdirected. What living organ donors need is a safety net. To encourage donation in the absence of such precautions boarders on immoral.

The White House is working on putting together a Summit on high tech means of encouraging living organ donation and Representative Matt Cartwright just introduced the Organ Donor Clarification Act of 2016 to allow funding for pilot projects on nonmonetary incentives for living organ donation. Both these efforts are misdirected. The first because we should not be encouraging donation in the absence of the most basic donor protections and the second because incentives that encourage donation in the absence of such protections is a recipe for disaster.

Donors need paid leave for the time they take off to donate and recover from surgery. With only 12 percent of the U.S. working population having paid family leave (White House Summit on Family Leave ) and almost half Americans not having enough savings to take care of a $400 expense (See here), how do we expect the average American to afford being a living organ donor. Continue reading
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