Surgery

Why the Government should Legalize a Regulated Kidney Transplant Market



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Governments' failure to legalize the selling of organs has created illegal kidney transplantation from living donors. As a result, moral issues have arisen concerning these transactions because kidneys are sold like marijuana covertly and illegally. A possible solution to this dilemma would be to follow a suggestion which has been made by both Michael Friedlaender, head of the kidney-transplant follow-up unit at Hadessah University Hospital in Jerusalem, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes, professor of medical anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. They both recommend curbing this illegal practice through government intervention by legalizing kidney transplantation and by having private, non-profit, organizations oversee this activity.

Though kidney transplantation should be legalized, it should also be regulated by non-profit organizations, not governments. Though most governments are thought to be benevolent in nature, they do, however, place their financial aggrandizements before the public good. Corrupt leaders and government officials would use the market of organ-selling for their own financial benefit rather than for the public good. According to the *Christian Science Monitor*, the average waiting period for a kidney transplant in Israel is four years. During this time period, thousands can die. This further substantiates the inefficiency of an industry that is government controlled. However, if this industry were commanded by private, non-profit, organizations that have no medical or governmental influence, then greater change would result. When industries are controlled by private organizations, efficiency is greatly improved. The Red Cross, for example, a non-profit organization that lends aid and support to those struck by disaster would be one example. It is thanks to private organizations such as this that millions of lives are saved daily.

Governments constantly dispute the legality of selling and buying organs. Dr. Hughes questions the morality of this practice altogether. She feels that the human body is not a commodity and every part of it is intertwined with the soul. Though she makes a valid point, this debate would turn into a dispute between religion and ethics. By the time this debate ends, millions could die around the world. A private industry, on the other hand, would ensure that more people would receive kidneys at a faster rate because they have the person's best interest in mind. These private organizations truly understand the value of a human life and are not influenced by outside sources. They base their decisions solely on morality and helping those in need. An organization such as the Red Cross would ensure that a wounded individual receives the necessary care that he or she deserves. Fundraisers would be able to raise awareness and facilitate organ donations willingly, because saving a human life is the best deed that anyone can do.

A human life is worth more than any moral debate. Though a human body is said to be created by God or in God's image, it should be arranged so that each human can live his or her life to the fullest. If religion were to govern today's society, then medicine as a field would dissipate. Humans would die from viruses at an early age. It is thanks to science that humans live as long as they do. Though religion is important, health and well-being should be given first priority. For instance, if a child is born with a defective kidney, it is not his fault that he has this misfortune. The child did no one any harm and naturally should not die. Organs should be sold to those who need it because governments should not have the power to play God and decide who should receive a transplant. Private organizations would ensure that transplants are provided with equity and celerity.

Governments should look after and protect their citizens and safeguard against infringements upon their rights. Hughes took a very conservative view when she stated that "commodification of the body parts necessarily involves corruption of the medical profession, with doctors intentionally harming one population, normally the poor, and turning them into bags of spare parts." This statement gives the reader an impression that doctors are heartless assassins, whose main goals are to exploit the poor as if they were a supply closet full of organs in the hope of making a profit. This pessimistic view of the medical field questions the morality of doctors and emphasizes an idea that the poor are inhuman. Hughes's opinion could not be more erroneous because doctors take an oath in which they swear that they will not harm anyone. Doctors do not discriminate against patients because, ideally speaking, all patients are given the necessary aid that they require. Poor citizens may be exploited for their organs when they die because they may not have any family members to ensure that they should receive a burial. As a result, their organs are used to help others who need them. The same is true for diseased citizens because if they need aid, hospitals will do everything in their power to ensure that they enjoy a speedy recovery. Before any organs are extracted from a patient, a written and signed consent must be obtained from that person or from his or her family members. Greater government protection should be created through the use of organ donation consent forms in the case of death. This will ensure that no one's organs are taken from them illegally. Thus Hughes's exaggerated views of doctors, espouses unnecessary fear about each individual's organs.

Kidney transplantation from living donors should be legalized, but not regulated by governments to promote longevity. Private, non-profit, organizations should be given the task of regulating this activity to maintain each patient's best interest at heart. It is only this way that true public good would be given a priority.

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