Hey, I'm Jason. I'm a chronically-ill-super-freedom-loving-medical-self-journalist.
I’m dropping faster blogs lately, and with slightly less frequency. Possible because I’m busy at work, or because it’s summer and the computer doesn’t rate against the swimming pool. Or maybe it’s because I’ve become too critical of my own writing to unleash the three or four draft blog posts I have on queue. Plus there’s a child I’m raising and another child I spawned, who is, as I write this, attempting to kick her way out of mom a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.
Whatever it is, I can’t avoid posting a quick note when something truly important comes along. And from several sources, though Emily was first, I recieved the following New York Times opinion piece. And it ranks up there on the importance scale.
For one, the article addresses medical tourism, which must be an option sitting annoyingly in the back of many transplant hopeful’s minds, nagging at us all … maybe it’s worth it. This tourism (which costs money) note also finally gives me an excuse to talk about the 17 or so comments on my blog that I have never “approved” for publishing (though, truth be told, I had considered posting them for argument’s sake). These comments arrive in the form of a request – of sorts.
Buy my kidney. That’s what they’re asking. Some of them suggest a trade: their kidney in exchange for citizenship. Those requests usually link back to websites that run donor exchanges as a business. I would exchange something I have for something they have. Which is trading. Which is buying. Then there are the flat out requests for cash. My most recent, and most blunt, comment to date came on Sunday, “I am selling my kidney for $1M.”
Now, these are hard times. I’m as aware as anybody else. They’re hard times for me, too, what with my kidney deficit to boot. So I get it, hard times call for hard measures – it’s a time for indecent proposals. But selling a kidney sets a bad tone in America about what health is worth, and who can afford it. Healthcare is at a crossroads in the U.S. and we’ll need to decide which way we’re going to go. Personally, I do not support (nor could I afford) a system where health comes at a highest bidder cost.
The article linked discusses where we’re going with transplants now; and discusses where we could be, with a few minor changes. The author points out some statistics – numbers that I have long felt make a really easy case for donating your kidney. The fact that every single person on the transplant list could be off that list this year with less than one percent of the U.S. population donating is both infuriating and hopeful. Politics, laws, ethics and social customs could change oh-so-slightly to make such a huge difference in so many people’s lives – why don’t we just do it?
It could all be so easy. The article.
editor’s note: because of the random requests for donations in exchange for citizenship, or money, some of the requests for exchanges in my mailbox may have been overlooked. I hope you can understand, if you have emailed me, how I might be now more cautious about who is legitimate and who is opportunistic. Such is the nature of the internet and spamming – one must be careful about identity. If you are one of those altruistic people interested in an exchange program to help me or someone you know, please contact UCLA directly. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you and have a database of hundreds more people who are looking for that perfect exchange match. I stand by my ideal: every kidney transplanted is good for every person waiting for a transplant, the odds just keep getting better.