Organ Essay

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Advances in surgical and diagnostic techniques have substantially increased the success of organ transplant operations. In 2000, a total of 22,827 organs were transplanted in the United States. However, in the preceding decade, the discrepancy between the number of available organs and the number of patients requiring a transplant operation has increased significantly. A British Medical Association (BMA) report has indicated that in the period between 1995 and 1999, 1,000 patients in the United Kingdom died whilst waiting for a heart, lung, or liver transplant. An average of 15 patients die every day in the US whilst awaiting an appropriate organ. The genuine figure will likely be inflated by the deaths of patients that are never waitlisted for a transplant. In addition, substantial numbers of patients die annually on account of the absence of both kidney donors and the lack of dialysis machines. The sale of human organs can be considered as a possible solution to the crippling shortage. The black market trade in human organs is already thriving. Entrepreneurs offer the opportunity for British patients to receive privately financed transplant operations in India and Malaysia. An American citizen was recently arrested in Rome for offering human hearts and pancreas glands for sale to Italian doctors. In February, two Chinese government officials were charged with the sale of the organs of executed prisoners. In 1983, Dr. Barry Jacobs requested that the U.S. government create a fund to compensate the families who donate the organs of deceased relatives, or ‘cadaveric donors’. Dr. Jacobs also proposed to set up a business that would buy kidneys from living donors for transplantation in American patients. The proposal raised popular opposition. The National Organ Transplantation Act in 1984 still prohibits the sale of human organs from either dead or living donors.[1]

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