Poll: Should we loosen the restrictions on organ donation?

Patients in need of a kidney often wait years for a suitable donor.

Instead of waiting, more patients are taking matters into their own hands by arranging private kidney transactions, through internet classifieds on Craigslist or social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. Those who seek organs outside the traditional system can potentially save up to ten years of waiting.

But ninety percent of the transplant centers in America will not accept a kidney donated by someone the patient isn’t related to and doesn’t know. Hospitals are wary of the possible legal and ethical complications. It’s illegal to sell human organs and tissue in the United States. and it probably isn’t surprising that desperate families can run into donors hoping to cash in.

But an altruistic stranger – not looking for financial gain – should be able to potentially save a life. When you consider the 78,000 people waiting for a kidney, and that each year they spend on dialysis reduces their chances of survival ““ there should be an easier way.

If I didn’t cover your issue, you can add it in the comments, or call into the ReachMD Listener Line at 888-639-6157 and record your comments (portions of which may air).

I encourage you to listen and vote in this week’s poll, located in the upper right column of the blog.

Please suggest future ReachMD Poll topics by emailing [email protected].

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories