Closing the Organ Gap: A Reciprocity-Based Social Contract Approach

21 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2011

See all articles by Richard J. Bonnie

Richard J. Bonnie

University of Virginia - School of Law

Gil Siegal

University of Virginia School of Law; Kiryat Ono College, Israel

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Organ transplantation remains one of modern medicine’s remarkable achievements. It saves lives, improves quality of life, diminishes healthcare expenditures in end-stage renal patients, and enjoys high success rates. Yet the promise of transplantation is substantially compromised by the scarcity of organs. The gap between the number of patients on waiting lists and the number of available organs continues to grow. As of January 2006, the combined waiting list for all organs in the United States was 90,284 (64,933, 17,269, and 3,006 for kidney, liver, and heart respectively). Unfortunately, thousands of potential organs are lost each year, primarily due to lack of consent to donation from the deceased before death, or from the family thereafter. Only fifty percent of potential donors – the “conversion” rate – become actual donors. The costs attributed to organ shortage are substantial – Medicare paid over $15.5 billion in 2002 for treating patients with end-stage renal-disease, who predominate on organ waiting lists.

Suggested Citation

Bonnie, Richard J. and Siegal, Gil, Closing the Organ Gap: A Reciprocity-Based Social Contract Approach (2006). Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1759984

Richard J. Bonnie

University of Virginia - School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Gil Siegal (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-243-8541 (Phone)
434-924-3517 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.law.virginia.edu/fac/gs6x

Kiryat Ono College, Israel ( email )

104 Zahal St.
Kiryat Ono, 55000
Israel
972-3-50-380-4420 (Phone)
972-3-530-3960 (Fax)

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