Thursday, July 05, 2007

Blogging for Organ Donation

Tell all your friends, yes, even your imaginary, internet friends, that JULY 18th is Blogging for Organ Donation day. This is being sponsored by BlogCatalog with the hopes of raising organ donation awareness and getting folks to sign up to be organ donors. What can YOU do?

1. Link to and/or UNOS. (In the effort of full disclosure, you can also link to matching donors dot com. I will not, as I do not support their efforts). If you live outside the US, link to your country's organ donation site, if you have one. The British Organ Donor Society (BODY-the Y is really an psi, you clever Brits!) has a site with links to organ & tissue donation websites around the world.

2. On July 18th, On Wednesday, July 18, write a blog post asking all your readers to sign up as organ donors. Your blog post should:

• Have the title “BlogCatalog Community Organ Donation Awareness Campaign” (or some variation)

• Explain the importance of organ donation and how it is a gift of life.

• Link to one (or all three) of the sites above or the most suitable site for your country.

• And add a link to our BlogCatalog Community Organ Donation Awareness Campaign page so we can give you and your blog credit for being part of it. (you have to sign up in order to do this.)

If you have any questions, email


Anonymous said...

Hi TC,

In honour of Blogging for Organ Donation Day, I'm wondering if you could address an issue related to organ donation that has been troubling me as of late. I am a first-year medical student, and I am currently working in an inner-city area to try to set up a student-run health clinic that would serve under-served patient populations (homeless, substance abusers, street workers, etc.). Through my work, I have witnessed many examples of utter desperation and seen just how few resources are being put towards helping the most disadvantaged members of our society. The question that arises in my mind as a result of this is "Should we, as a society, put our limited resources into helping a small number of individuals through things like organ donation, or would our resources be better utilized by investing in a large number of individuals through social programs and improved access to healthcare?"

I know it's not a question with an easy answer - I personally have a family member who would not be alive today were it not for a heart transplant he received 15 years ago. I would, however, be very curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.

As an aside...I really enjoy reading your blog. Yours is one of the few that I continued to check regularly even when the studying got to its most intense!

TC said...

Thanks for the kudos. I think you bring up a very important issue, and if I don't address it on blogging for donation day, I may bring it up in a future ethics column.

Three things immediately come to mind. First-using resources on something that benefits a relatively few people. Big Pharma is often criticized for working on drugs that will bring in a lot of bucks, while not researching drugs for rare conditions. Yet,(and I swear I have a source somewhere) they often lobby against spending money on preventative measures for disease, I suppose because healthy people don't buy drugs.

Second, I think when you talk about the big picture, our society and government and where money is spent, it brings to mind the controversy about welfare. Welfare benefits a limited number of people and of course so many taxpayers rant about supporting some woman with 10 kids on welfare. I read somewhere that the average person on welfare receives about $14,000 to live on in a year, but it costs about $25,000 a year to house and feed the average prisoner. Again, I go back to preventative measures. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, except when some people make big bucks from the cure. Without getting into political leanings, our country spends huge, whopping amounts on things that you or I would probably think of as wasteful, at best, and criminal, at worst. I'm not sure how much money gets spent on transplant research, et al, but I do know that we desperately need to put more resources into helping the poor and securing health care for everyone. I just don't think the money has to come out of the transplantation pocket to cover it when there are so many other places it could come from. Warren Buffet's piggy bank, for example.

The third thing is a little more esoteric. As I'm sure you know from working with the poor, it's hard to quantify the value of one human life. The person you save today may cure cancer or rescue a drowning child someday. So if one person's life is saved with a new liver, it is immeasurable how many other lives are affected by that one transplant. Also, and again I'm no expert on this, I imagine that the information gained in transplant research can have wider applications in fields of hematology, biochemistry, endocrinology, disease prevention, etc.

Thanks for the comment-you've got me thinking.