Transplant debate should focus on increasing donors

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Patient One is a seventy-five-year-old grandmother who is in need of a new kidney and has been on the transplant list for thirty years. Patient Two is a six-year-old boy who also needs a kidney, but was just added to the transplant list last year. While the government battles over who is more deserving of the next available kidney, both patients are getting sicker, and both will die if something is not decided soon.

 

According to a Feb. 24 Washington Post article, the U.S. organ-transplant network is considering a new set of rules for kidney transplants that would give younger and healthier people priority over older and sicker patients.

 

The reasoning behind the change is that younger patients would get more use out of a transplanted kidney, and because kidneys are in such high demand, the few available kidneys should go to the patient who would get the most out of each transplant.

 

Opponents claim that the suggested policy is ageist and would confuse people who already understand the current system. They argue that a first-come, first-serve system is the only fair way to handle transplants.

 

According to the Washington Post article, there are currently more than 87,000 Americans waiting for a kidney transplant, and approximately 17,000 of those people will receive them in the next year.

 

Ultimately, this debate is ultimately superfluous because no matter what is decided in the end, nothing will truly be resolved. Regardless of whether they give priority to older or younger patients, there will still be 70,000 people in need of kidneys each year, and over 4,600 of them will die before they receive a transplant.

 

If The Washington Post used half as much space covering the pros and cons of organ donation as they did covering the new proposal, they might actually contribute to saving someone’s life.

 

Instead of arguing about the new proposal, the government should focus its efforts on advocating for organ donation. If there are more people who donate organs, there will be more organs available, which will save the lives of thousands of Americans. Increasing donation is the only logical and efficient solution to a tough situation.