Sunday, December 16, 2007

Where are they?

Sally Satel writes movingly about her own experiences, seeking and finally receiving a donated kidney. ("Desparately Seeking a Kidney: What you learn about people -- and yourself -- when you need them to donate an organ.") The tragic supply-demand imabalance is well known -- as is the simple fix to finally allow markets to operate.

Satel's story goes beyond that, highlighting some of the emotions and heartbreaks that perplex would-be donors and would-be recipients as they court each other. Her story has a happy ending because her acquaintance, Virginia Postrel, came through with an uncomplicated and direct offer to donate one of her kidneys. It all worked out.

But until attitudes (and political leadership) on this important issue change, many of those requiring transplants will be relegated to long waiting lists -- and many will die.

There is some comfort gained when genuine donors step forward and when smart people like Dave Undis take up the cause via his Lifesharers, decribed as a volunteer "preferred organ network." Read about it here.

As Satel writes at the end of her article, "But unless we stop thinking of transplantable kidneys as gifts, we will never have enough of them."

Where are all of the "compassionate" conservatives and liberals on this issue?