Organ Donor Search and Crowdfunding through Social Media

Organtransplants.org estimates the number of people in the United States (men, women and children) waiting for organ transplants at more than 84,000. With many in the organ transplant waiting list, some put up posters and some resort to social media to tell their story in the hopes of finding a living organ donor.

“Organ transplantation is built upon altruism and public trust. If anything shakes that trust, then everyone loses.”

There are many heartwarming accounts of genuine altruistic living donors found through social media who are not relatives or in a few times, even complete strangers to their recipient prior to the transplant. But it cannot also be denied that some try to sell their organs using social media as a medium.

The average cost of transplantation (2011 figures) are from $262,000 for a single kidney to more than $1,148,000 for a heart-lung transplant according to organdonor.gov. The high cost is due mainly to expenses from laboratory testing, transportation, operating room expenses, transplant team and medications particularly immunosuppressive or anti-rejection drugs. And so it is not surprise that families of transplant candidates try to raise funds for medical expenses with the help of social media.

Organ donors too have expenses related to the organ donation. A donor will have to undergo several tests and may also miss time for work before, during and after the organ transplant. If living far from the testing or transplant site, the organ donor may have to spend for transportation to the laboratory or medical facility. And expenses are also expected during and after the transplant as he or she too will have to undergo followup checkups. Funds are also needed for the donor therefore. However it was a fundraising effort for a kidney donor that put a kidney transplant on hold for a single mother in South Portland. And across many kidney patient support groups, this incident has been a hot topic.

And so this Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 9 PM Philippine time or 9AM EST, we will discuss the following questions in Twitter:

T1 Is social media an appropriate platform to search for living organ donors?

T2 What do you think of using social media for crowdfunding transplant expenses?

T3 What ethical issues arise when using social media to crowdfund the expenses of an organ donor?

Please join the conversation using the hashtag #HealthXPh

We are more than happy to welcome you there.