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InvisibleEvolving
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Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire?
    #2254698 - 01/20/04 01:24 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

ORGAN DONATIONS: Socialism or Laissez-Faire?
by Adam Young [Posted January 19, 2004]

Loni Wells is desperately ill. The 20-year-old Canadian is among the nearly 3,000 Canadians who require a kidney transplant each year. Suffering from a rare kidney disease called Focal Membrano Proliferative Glomerionephritis (MPGN), Loni required 8 ? hours of dialysis every day after her kidney's failed completely in February 2000, and later haemodialysis treatments directly to her heart.

Because of her kidney disease, Loni suffers from low blood pressure and risks heart failure. She has been diagnosed with osteodystrophy, which is similar to osteoporosis and her body is no longer able to metabolize calcium. Loni requires constant medication, suffers from terrible headaches, has difficulty sleeping because of these and other aches and pains, and her body has difficulty manufacturing red blood cells.

Loni Wells suffers like this because of government policy. A misguided and shortsighted policy shared by both Canada and the United States. While nearly 3,000 Canadians languish on government waiting lists for a kidney transplant, where the wait typically stretches for 2 to 5 years, only about 1,100 receive transplants each year. The only option for Loni, her family concluded, was to find a living donor outside her family.

Loni's father came up with the idea of creating a website to tell Loni's story and appeal to donors. Over the course of a few days, more than 60,000 people visited the site. And surprisingly 36 complete strangers, motivated by Loni's plight, some from as far away as Florida, offered to fly to Edmonton and give her one of their kidneys.

But once these potential matches contacted the local branch office of the Stalinist medical system in Canada, their benevolence was brushed away.

Canadian law, like U.S. law, bans the buying or selling of human organs, but doesn't specifically address donations by complete strangers. The transplant monopoly, however, insists living donors be either family or close friends.

"There has to be an emotional bond, a close relationship to proceed to any further steps," explained Ed Greenberg of Capital Health in Edmonton.

And Loni continues to suffer.

"Oh, it crushes my spirit, it makes me mad," said Wells. "Every day I have to get up and I don't feel good, and I'm not eating. Dialysis takes this big chunk out of my life."

The problem is that in Canada only the spouse or another family member could successfully donate organs. The government defends this rationing policy by arguing that donors face health and psychological problems and the uncertainty regarding the motivations of organ donors/sellers would place an ethical burden on the standards of health professionals.

However, in the past ten years, due to the continuing shortage of organs caused by the state's rationing policy, it became possible for close friends to donate organs. But even then, local government boards of health evaluate the friend to determine if he or she meets the definition of a close friend out of a misplaced fear that this situation could generate discrimination or abuses. It's believed that certain people could be motivated to give because they're touched by the age of the patient, his or her place in society or even physical attractiveness or other "unearned" benefits.

A common concern among defenders of the rationing plan is that allowing living donations would open the door to queue-jumping and short-circuiting the waiting list, thereby allowing Loni or anyone else to obtain a kidney or other organ ahead of more needy recipients. But is it ethical to deny a young woman a kidney when she and potentially others through her family?s efforts could readily attain one? How is it ethical to continue to endanger her health and life and prolong her misery?

The fear is that laissez-faire with organs would allow the strong to prey on the weak, a myth a professor interviewed by the CBC raised again: "The concern has always been a subtle form of coercion might exist," said Prof. Tim Caulfield, research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

But what of the subtle coercion that exists on family members who feel obligated to donate an organ out of familial duty rather than genuine charity? Why is that coercion not as insidious as what is presumed to exist, but of course does not, in market transactions?

However, it appears that Loni's unique appeal for help may be a crack in the foundation of the cartelization and monopolization of organ donation. A transplant surgeon, Dr. Philip Belitski, openly questioned the lack of living donor opportunities.

"As the need increases, it's apparent the need will not be filled by donation from non-living people."

"We need to look more seriously and widely at the potential for living donation," added the chair of the Canadian Council on Donation and Transplantation, in Halifax.

And as the CBC reports, as kidney transplants have become safer for both donor and recipient, studies suggests more people are willing to give a kidney to a complete stranger.

Surely then, the next step is to coordinate supply and demand, to connect buyers with sellers, through the superior medium of market prices, rather than the current method of Soviet-style bureaucracy.

Luckily for Loni, she has found a relative who has so far cleared the early testing for compatibility. And the Wells family is forming the Wellspring Foundation, an organization that will take the lead in forming and will push for the creation of a federal living donor registry of individuals willing to give organs to complete strangers.

In time, perhaps the market will take over to the benefit of both donors and recipients.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2254759 - 01/20/04 01:44 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Would it be "theft" if post-mortem organ donation were not optional?


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Registered: 09/11/01
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2254925 - 01/20/04 03:19 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

What an odd and twisted article!

Soviet style? Stalinist? Gimme a break!

If dearest Loni isn't allowed to get a kidney from a complete stranger, I'd say that's a doctor created regulatory issue, rather than an issue of who pays for the medical insurance. Who makes the rules about these things? Doctors! (Not Stalinists)

The article even says the USA has the same set-up. The USA's private payer system isn't Stalinist either. But it ain't socialist.

In a market based health insurance system, the best care goes to those who can pay the most, while in a socialist system of health insurance, priority is based on need, not on thickness of wallet.

Plus, more of the money spent actually goes for health services, rather than private bureaucracies sorting through different health plans.


--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: carbonhoots]
    #2255421 - 01/20/04 10:40 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

carbonhoots said:
Soviet style? Stalinist? Gimme a break!



Ahem,... central planning.

Quote:

If dearest Loni isn't allowed to get a kidney from a complete stranger, I'd say that's a doctor created regulatory issue,



Ahem,... it's GOVERNMENT regulation.

Quote:

The article even says the USA has the same set-up.



It says, "Canadian law, like U.S. law, bans the buying or selling of human organs, but doesn't specifically address donations by complete strangers. The transplant monopoly, however, insists living donors be either family or close friends.
".
The U.S. suffers from government interference on this issue.

Quote:

The USA's private payer system isn't Stalinist either. But it ain't socialist.



It is NOT a free market system, it is HIGHLY regulated and HIGHLY distorted by government medical programs (contrary to leftist propaganda). Ever heard of MEDICARE? Do you think this large transfer of wealth and government regulation doesn't affect the practice of medicine in the U.S.? Ever heard of HIPAA or any of the other multitude of laws and regulations which affect the free practice of medicine in the U.S.? Did you know that federal legislation is responsible for the creation HMOs in the U.S.? Did you know that government regulations in the area of pharmaceuticals distorts the market and leads to higher prices for drugs that are available and the unavailability of some drugs which may be cheaper and more effective? Did you know that government regulations make it illegal for drug companies to inform doctor's of alternative uses that are effective for drugs? Did you know that government regulation hampers or even makes illegal alternative therapies for patients, even when patients are terminal? Ever heard of our federal government's stand on the use of medical marijuana, even when it is approved by the states and doctors? Give ME a break!

How about addressing the main issue of the article? Government intervention in the area of organ donations acts to the detriment of the health and lives of people... or did that fly right over your head?

** Edited for fear of offending our more sensitive members' sensibilities. **


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


Edited by Evolving (01/20/04 11:36 AM)


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InvisiblePrisoner#1M
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2255539 - 01/20/04 11:16 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Baby_Hitler said:
Would it be "theft" if post-mortem organ donation were not optional?




yes...some believe that they should be keeping all of there organs...maybe the feeel they need a pair of kidneys in the afterlife...

My fear about organ donation is when they start collection pre-mortem....


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Registered: 09/11/01
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Loc: BC Canada
Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2255666 - 01/20/04 11:54 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:


How about addressing the main issue of the article? Government intervention in the area of organ donations acts to the detriment of the health and lives of people... or did that fly right over your head?





Government's make health regulations based on what doctor's recommend.

Maybe it's a bad rule (not letting strangers donate kidneys), maybe not, but it's what the trained health professionals think is best for now, and it has nothing to do with who pays the bill.


--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2255701 - 01/20/04 12:07 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

I can't think of anything more greedy than wanting to hold onto your organs after you're dead.

Even the most hardcore libertarian gun nut will let you take their guns from their cold dead hands, why not their kidneys?

Living donations should definately remain optional.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Registered: 09/11/01
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2255758 - 01/20/04 12:35 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

It's interesting you bring up Medicare. The USA has publicy funded health insurance for those over 65, right? Is that right?

How do they like it?


--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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InvisibleEvolving
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Registered: 10/01/02
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: carbonhoots]
    #2255787 - 01/20/04 12:46 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

carbonhoots said:
Government's make health regulations based on what doctor's recommend.



From the article "There has to be an emotional bond, a close relationship to proceed to any further steps," explained Ed Greenberg of Capital Health in Edmonton. This hardly sounds like medical reasoning.

Governments MAY make health regulations based upon what SOME doctors recommend. They may also go AGAINST the recommendations of other doctors. I don't know how it is in Canada, but the I believe that in the U.S. the majority of legislators are lawyers and professional politicians, not medical professionals. Government regulations are based upon POLITICAL decisions. Regulations do not respond to advances in technology, science or medicine and are grounded (if they take advice from the approriate professions) in the orthodoxy and skepticism of the relevant profession.

Quote:

... but it's what the trained health professionals think is best for now,



It may be what SOME health professionals think is best. I recommend that you research the life of Dr. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis and pay attention to how orthodox thinking and skepticism can lead to needless death and suffering.

Quote:

... and it has nothing to do with who pays the bill.



Yes it does. Whoever controls the purse strings has the ability to attach conditions upon the use of funds. To believe otherwise ignores reality. It is also more than who pays the bills, it is law and regulation which inhibit the freedom of doctors to save lives


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
old hand

Registered: 09/11/01
Posts: 1,351
Loc: BC Canada
Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2255902 - 01/20/04 01:35 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

While I'm sure orthodox thinking and skepticism can lead to needless death and suffering, I'm not going to research the life Dr. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis.

Now, as for the who pays my medical bill attaching strings, there are no strings attached here in Canada. We are free to see whatever doctor we want, the doctor is free to prescribe any treatment he/she wants. If I don't like it, I can see another doctor, and another...there is no 'central planning', only public payment.

In cases of scarcity, priority is based on need. Sure there are a few problems in the system, what system doesn't have problems?

Canada used to have private health insurance. The socialized system works much better.

Now, in any regulatory scheme, some people are going to oppose the regulations. What does this mean? That all people don't agree. It doesn't mean we should get rid of regulations.

It is a bit funny that Ed Greenberg of Capital Health in Edmonton said there has to be an emotional bond, a close relationship to proceed to any further steps. But that's what accepted medical opinion is on this matter. In Canada as well as the States. Bringing this into the context of how a country pays for it's medical services is silly, (laisez-faire and socialism)

If you or the author think that there should be less or no rules governing treatment options for doctors, that's fine. It's not a socialist or laissez-faire issue. It's not economic. It's medical.


--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


Edited by carbonhoots (01/20/04 01:36 PM)


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: carbonhoots]
    #2255930 - 01/20/04 01:44 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

What a waste of resources...lonni should be put down, or funded by charity, willing doner, or provided by from her family.
:thumbdown:


--------------------
"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Registered: 09/11/01
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Loc: BC Canada
Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Azmodeus]
    #2255958 - 01/20/04 01:58 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Yeah. If a complete stranger wants to give up a kidney, it seems they should be allowed to.

I wouldn't, yeesh...


--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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Invisibledaussaulit
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Registered: 08/06/02
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Re: Organ Donations: Socialism or Laissez-Faire? [Re: Evolving]
    #2257393 - 01/20/04 09:44 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

What about stem cell research? Can't we grow new organs using stem cells?


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