More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Friday, November 13, 2009

Organ Transplants: Who Should Get the Second Chance?

Module 6 in my course study on death, dying, and bereavement is about organ transplants. One student's response was so good that I asked her for permission to use it on this blog. I share with you the writing of Tamara Randel.

There are rigorous rules and steps one must follow in order to stay on the transplant list, and unfortunately there is always going to be the few who feel like they won’t get caught. While waiting for any organ transplant, one is not supposed to smoke (anything), drink alcohol, or participate in any other ways of using drugs. These are simple and straight forward rules that have to be in place because why would one doing such things get a lung or kidney over another waiting listed person when they’re already trying to kill off some of their other organs.

I also feel strongly about other factors that aren’t strictly medical based when it comes to factoring out those who I believe are either physically or morally future down the list. I believe that the person who qualifies should be taking care of themselves while waiting for the call, and that a 26 year old mother of a newborn should be put ahead of the 75 year old women who has seen her children and grandchildren grow already ( I’m basing this on the fact that they both followed all guidelines). As for my morally biased view, I believe that those who are currently residing in the death row block of any penitentiary should be disqualified. In 2004 a man who had stabbed two women and successfully killed one (the other received 17 stab wounds but lived to testify against him) and with the approval of the prisons physician was granted a spot on the transplant waiting list. It took less than a month for this to be overturned since his other health issues posed a problem, but California allowed 2 federal inmates to receive transplants in 2003. I feel strongly against this because I don’t think that those who already robbed someone of their life should benefit from another person’s loss of life. It also seems unfair that the procedures were performed at the California taxpayers’ expense.

The cost of a transplant of any kind is not cheap what with the medical expenses including Insurance expenses, pre-transplant tests, the organ recovery fee, the surgery itself, the follow up care, the medical staff’s pay, the rehabilitation, the anti-rejection drugs (over $1,000 a month for those alone), and any other medical expenses for unexpected complications. Unfortunately most health insurances will only cover a small amount of the fees if any at all, but Medicaid will cover a big portion of it if not all on the stipulation that you are 65 or older and pay an initial deductable upon hospitalization. Medicare will also cover a portion of transplant if it is absolutely needed, although the amount varies from case to case on variables like patient’s income, coverage, state available funds, and any extra Medicaid funds that can be passed down.

There are also many organizations that raise money for transplant patients, these can vary from $500 to thousands and can sometimes only be available to those with a certain type of illness. Other organizations, such as the National Transplant Organization Fund, help the patient fundraise for themselves through flyers and websites. Last year this transplant fund agency raised over 64 million for over 4,000 patients. Even with all of these resources available there is still more need then product, leaving many people to figure out how to deal with the financial burden alone.

My beliefs on the ending personal costs and the amount of costs that are covered through state and insurance, or should be covered that way, are mixed. I like the idea of the government paying for procedures that help a citizen have a second chance at life, but I don’t feel that all of the people on the transplant list deserve the second chance. There is a big difference between someone like my mother who has never smoked even a cigarette, who got a rare lung disease that’s cause is unknown as well as the cure, and a person who chooses to smoke cigarettes and narcotics after already being hospitalized for the it in the past and who still chose to go out and repeat the act that they knew would eventually kill them. The latter type of person should still be given care and another chance that would allow them to stop their harmful habits and be considered for the transplant procedure once again, but they should not be given what could save another person who would actually cherish the gift. As for the situation of illegal aliens being allowed five years of little to no cost Medicare, I haven’t decided.

I would have no problem with it if the government was also willing to do that for everyone in America, but as it is I have seen quite a few college students denied state medical benefits. The reason behind their denial was on the grounds that they should either go to school half time and find a job with benefits (since they are able bodied) or if that’s too hard then they should skip school altogether and not take advantage of the educational systems ability to help one support themselves better in life. If I could really choose who paid what and the government’s involvement I would choose to go with a socialist health care system like China has.

Works Cited:

Robinson, Bryan. May 28, 2004. Death-Row Privilege. ABC News. Received on November 07, 2009, from http://www.liberty-page.coml

Group from the United Network for Organ Sharing Financing a Transplant. July 10, 2003. Financial Costs. Transplant living. Received on November 06, 2009, from

Sara Lewis. October 05, 2009. Quick Facts. Donate Life. Received on November 07, 2009, from

Cathy Letcher. October 19, 2009. History. National Transplant Assistance Fund. Received on November 08, 2009, from
What are your opinions about organ transplants? How would you answer the questions our instructor posed to us? Leave a comment or opinion below this post if you'd like to chime in.

1) Should there be limits or restrictions on “who” should be eligible to receive organ/tissue transplants. Should age be a factor? Or should ability to pay for the transplant be a factor? Are there other factors that should eliminate someone from consideration?

2) Discuss issues concerning the cost of transplants. Who should pay for them? Should medical insurance companies be required to co
ver transplants (all or some types?)? What role should the government (if any) play in funding of transplants?

For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase on


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