Michael Fraase writes a anguishing account of his decision to pass up the opportunity to receive a cadaver kidney transplant–the way he writes it, he seems almost too ready to say no. His reasoning:
bq. The short version of the whole story is that I feel very strongly that corporations should not profit from the misfortune of the chronically ill. It would be hypocritical for me to hold that position and then turn around and benefit from someone else’s misfortune. In order for me to receive a cadaveric kidney transplant, there has to be a cadaver. Get it?
I too feel that I don’t want to benefit from the misfortune of others (just as corporations shouldn’t), but for me, there’s a difference: we all have to die. Corporations don’t necessarily have to profit from misfortune. And while it is a misfortune when a loved one dies, I hope my body can be used to help someone that someone else loves when I have to go. Strangers have given that ultimate gift to my family members, and I would be honored to help someone else, like Michael.
Transplants require a great deal of work, on the patient’s part as well as the doctor’s, and they require a great deal of resources. Because of immunological complications, most people have to take drugs to suppress their immune systems, or they end up developing graft versus host disease. Michael is absolutely right; transplanting is not a _cure_. And it’s an expensive follow-up. Anti-rejection meds are great, but if you don’t follow the regimen closely, the kidney can be rejected. And they’re expensive.
I’m sure he knows a great deal more than I do about transplants and kidney failure, and I’m sure his decision was an informed one. I totally respect his decision and the fact that he could make it so confidently.