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Finding the Winning Combination: How Blending Organ Procurement Systems Used Internationally Can Reduce the Organ Shortage

Posted by on Friday, September 21, 2012 in Notes, Vol. 39 No. 5, Volume 39, Volumes.

The shortage in transplantable organs worldwide not only leads to unnecessary death, but also to grave human rights abuses through illegal methods of procuring organs. The shortage leads some desperate to find an organ through any possible means, including purchasing an organ on the black market. The system for procuring organs in the United States is based on altruism, where potential donors have to opt in to the system in order for their organs to be donated. This creates issues at the time of death for medical professionals or the next of kin to decide whether their patient or loved one had decided to donate. This Note explores organ procurement systems used internationally and details the benefits and drawbacks of each. The Author proposes that a blend of some of the systems used internationally could reduce the illegal and immoral methods of organ procurement. The Author argues that the United States needs to implement a national registration system that tracks the willingness of all individuals to donate and is available to hospitals nation-wide through a database. In addition, the Author suggests that non-monetary incentives, including a paired organ exchange and giving priority to those who are themselves listed as donors, will also help decrease the shortage of organs.

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