Over 80,000 patients are currently awaiting transplants. About 16 people die on the waiting list every day, and the shortage is expected to increase even more dramatically over the next few years. So how do you feel about the suggestion that money be offered as an incentive to donors?
It is a controversial issue to be discussed by the American Medical Association at its meeting in two weeks. The AMA is considering recommending a test to see if financial incentives will increase donations after death.
"These are organs which will be buried or cremated unless they are transplanted, and we would like to increase the percentage of them that actually get to be transplanted," said Dr. Riddick, AMA Council of Ethical Affairs.
Since 1984, federal law has banned the buying and selling of organs for transplants, but many observers say an endorsement now from the prestigious. The American Medical Association could convince Congress to give it a try.
The fear, though, is that if the nation starts bringing money into the precious donation of organs the whole system could become more of a business than a gift. Others worry that organs may end up being sold to the highest bidder. Some speculate that the poor could be exploited or coerced into selling their organs. But that is the negative side of all this.
The AMA says it is only proposing a study at this point, which would only apply to donations after death.