The National Kidney Foundation vs. Open Debate and Increasing Kidney Donations
by Virginia Postrel • Jun 2, 2006 at 2:03 pm
The National Kidney Foundation is behaving reprehensibly, especially given its mandate. When I first got interested in organ donations, I naively thought that the foundation would be in the business of doing everything possible to encourage kidney donations. I was terribly wrong. The group vehemently, and successfully, opposed a bill that would have allowed tests of incentives for organ donors. (CEO John Davis brags here, scroll to second item.)
So determined is the NKF that kidney donors should never, ever, in any way be compensated for their organs--no matter how many kidney patients current policy kills--that the organization is now trying to stamp out public discussion of the idea. When they heard that AEI is planning a conference on the subject for June 12, they wrote a letter to AEI president Chris DeMuth suggesting that the conference shouldn't be held. The letter from NKF chief Davis (PDF available here) opens:
In other words, "We'd like to maintain our monopoly on the policy debate, so please shut up."
Keep in mind by way of context that there are 66,000 Americans on the waiting list for kidneys and that if every single person in the country agreed to be a post-mortem kidney donor, that would only double the supply of cadaver kidneys to about 13,000 a year, since a relatively few causes of death allow for organ transplants.
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