Good News: As our economy continues to “Improve,” it could soon be legal to sell your kidney

As I write this piece, I am reminded of an old Rod Serling Night Gallery episode.

Joan Crawford was this seriously wealthy and very nasty blind woman who only wanted to see for a brief amount of time her doctor tells her such a surgery would afford her. Her lackey Barry Sullivan was dispatched to find an eye donor. He finds one in the Tom Bosley, an obviously developmentally disabled man who is playing on the swings at a children’s playground. He is childlike. He is also pathetic and broke and destitute. He sells his eyes for an obscenely paltry sum to this greedy woman who could have more than afforded to give him enough money to live his life out with some mild sense of dignity. Joan gets her surgery and just as they remove her bandages and she begins to See, there is a blackout in the city. A total and complete blackout. Since her seeing moments are numbered, it does not appear that Joan will ever See. I can’t recall for sure, but I think she ended up going through her penthouse window.

Screw Joan. I’m thinking of  Poor Tom Bosley. He was so desperate that he sold his sight so that he might go on a little bit longer. He needed the money.

Well hey, listen, your government wants to you to have some money too. You know, The American Dream and all.

Okay,  let’s build the scenario for you. It is starting to sound like the Typical American scenario actually.

You lost your job.

Capital One just told you that your interest rate on existing balances is now officially 30%. Okay, make that 29.890 percent.

You have no health insurance and some guy from India keeps calling your phone number telling you that you had better pay those doctor’s bills.

You sold pretty much everything you have that is worth anything, including your grandmother’s jewelry that had been in the family for two centuries. The power company is threatening to turn off your heat and electricity and it’s kind of cold out there. Besides, if the water pipes in your home burst you are truly out of luck because you had to cancel the homeowner’s policy you couldn’t afford any longer. You no longer have cable and can find a test pattern on your TV a minimum of 30 times.

Surely there must be something you can do to earn money.

Why yes there is. You can sell your kidney.

Now don’t get all squeamish. You can live with only one, just so long as nothing goes wrong with it–but, hey, life’s a gamble, right? And besides, money is money!

Currently, this trivial procedure is considered illegal, punishable by five years in prison. What a waste! There’s money in those kidneys, gang, and if Americans who aren’t  friends or relatives of Congress or the White House lack one thing right now,  it’s money.

Your government might just help to eliminate that archaic law and make the sale of your “extra” kidney possible for you. Aren’t they wonderful people? Always looking out for you.

A Doctor named Satel wants to help make this happen and is teaming up with Senators Arlen Specter, Bob Casey and Tom Harkin, three upstanding citizens who want to help you out. This is a sure sign that the economy has turned the corner, don’t you think?

Satel, who received a donated kidney from a friend in 2006, has become a passionate and highly sensible advocate for reforming the nation’s organ donor system (despite occupying an office down the hall from Newt Gingrich and Lynne Cheney). She consulted on a draft bill sponsored by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter that would be a groundbreaking first step toward decriminalizing the compensation of kidney donors.

The bill, co-sponsored by fellow Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and Iowa’s Tom Harkin, would allow the government to offer kidney donors a variety of in-kind benefits, such as free health and life insurance policies, a tax credit, or a generous contribution to a charity of their choice. Other proposals have suggested allowing for contributions to a donor’s 401(k) plan. “Opponents are concerned about the appropriateness of paying cash for organs. I don’t necessarily agree,” Satel said, “but we do think our proposal addresses those concerns and will help reduce the organ shortage in this country, which is my main concern, without exploiting anyone.”

Golly, an office down the hall from a Cheney and a Gingrich. How proud they must both be. That way if either one of them ever needs a kidney, they can grab one from some poor bastard who is going broke. You gotta love the outrageously rich. Always looking to perpetuate themselves and kill off everybody else.

Really, it’s a good thing Dr. Satel thinks that cash should be an option. Most Americans no longer have 401Ks. Those accounts belong to Goldman Sachs now. And a tax credit on an already zeroed-out adjustable gross income  isn’t exactly very helpful. As for favorite charities, well, considering how screwed you are, if you are selling your kidney, your favorite charity has got to be yourself.

Nah, encouraging desperate people to sell  their kidneys:  That’s not exploitation or anything is it? I need to get with the program! In some countries a poor schmuck like you could just wake up in an alley and find somebody performed surgery on you after they rendered you unconscious. And you wouldn’t get a dime! That’s why our government is so special.  They want to protect you and help you out. They want to take those kidney thefts out of the back alleys and replace them with abortions in back alleys. But nevermind.

I know you are all excited about the prospects of this bill passing, knowing the government of what was once the United States of America wants you to sell your organs. After all, becoming a third world  country full of so many desperate people that they would actually think of selling an organ is what you long for, isn’t it? I’ll bet Jimmy Carter, at the most depressing part of his administration, which was the full four years, would have loved to have had the opportunity to allow you all to sell a kidney.

Shortly after the article I linked to was written, good ole Dr. Satel shared  with the author some emails received by readers. Now you know why I am reminded of Night Gallery.

“I live paycheck to paycheck right now and just can’t seem to get my head above water. If I could get a lump sump cash payment for an organ, I would jump at the opportunity,” wrote one man. “If I could pay off my debts and improve my quality of life dramatically as I wouldn’t be stressed 24/7 wondering how I’m going to pay this month’s rent and bills.”

“Recently we had a baby with severe complications,” wrote a young mother of two. “The reason I am telling you this story is because while this was happening, we spent everything we had in savings, pulled money from retirement, etc, to allow me to pay for daycare so I could spent time in the hospital. I would SERIOUSLY consider donating to someone who may die without it if it meant it helped save them and helped my situation also.”

Yes, we have certainly turned the corner….Now the very wealthy will be able to jump to the top of the list and get that kidney.

Now, I want to go on record that I am listed on my driver’s license as a donor. But this, I am sorry to say, is way beyond troubling. It is a sign that people are so desperate they are even willing to sell their organs. It is also a sign that the very rich will have yet another way to work the system and  harvest the poor and struggling for their own More Important needs. Where there is a will, there is a way.

So what’s Dr. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist, up to now? Why she’s going to help you out.

…..she is helping a friend who is researching the legality of starting a website that would connect the tens of thousands of Americans desperate for a kidney with the suddenly seemingly bottomless supply of those desperate to give one up, for the right price. “She wouldn’t be taking a cent for providing this service,” Satel said, “just providing a place for people with mutual interests to meet.”

Isn’t that special?

Well, you might ask,  what do you do after  you and your spouse have both sold your kidneys and you still can’t make ends meet?  You won’t have any more organs to donate while still remaining alive and it’s still illegal to sell your kids. So far.

Not to worry. No, not to worry. Your government is most likely  looking for a way to convert pesky common people like you into an alternate fuel source. Perhaps you could volunteer for the research program.


62 Responses

  1. I read this article, then the next one – the PBS Special on Credit Cards.

    They are eerily similar.

    Now I feel all queasy.

  2. Well, it’s a job. Isn’t it?

    Too bad we can’t do it again and again….

    I mean what’s with that?

  3. Just terrible, UW, and I’m glad you were able to dig this travesty up from the shadows of legislation.

    I gave generously to help a somewhat odd-but-innocent-looking Robert J. Casey Jr., defeat US Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Santorum has many problems of his own, but at least he did had the audacity to admit he voted his conscience.

    It appears that Casey does not even have a conscience. No sense protesting to him. He does not care. He’s now got a contented-cow visage that tells me Obama has already given that for which he was willing to sell his soul.

  4. Well hey SYD, you can sign over your kids’ kidneys. Or if you have POA over someone, why you can sell theirs too. There’s gold in those hills, ya know?

    As it stands, it often looks like the influential jump to the top of the list under the current system. Anybody remember how the pickled Mickey Mantle got a liver really really fast while my neighbor, who waited for years, died? Oh yea that’s right, he was the very best match in the whole country. He didn’t live long because he was a hopeless drunk. If that were you or me, they would never give us a liver with alcohol running through our veins daily.

    Pancreatic cancer kills people in a matter of a few months. Unless you are Steve Jobs. Odd, that. Ted’s brain tumor would have taken any one of us in months. But then, in addition to being very wealthy, he had stellar health insurance with no life limits. And you paid for it. Now they want your kidney on ice in case some important person needs it. And the very thought that CONGRESS is involved just drips of favors.

  5. Thanks to Joe Biden taking care of his credit card friends by screwing Americans, maybe they can include a kidney in bankruptcy restructuring. But sir, I have nothing left. Well you have a kidney don’t you?

  6. In honor of such “medical advancements” under the regime of Husein, I give you this (via Not Your Sweetie blog).

  7. Geesh. I don’t even know what to say. Science fiction warned us this was coming.

  8. What do you mean, you need food stamps and medicaid, you still have a kidney don’t you?

  9. One day my daughter broached the subject of selling some of her eggs for college tuition….We are Catholic….
    She is a legal but but also very young. We had a long talk about it. There is something evil when life has so little value that harvesting of organs for money leads to a widening breach in humanity. Read a story this weekend about a criminal ring busted in a country in South America for murdering at least 5 people to harvest human fat for cosmetics…..for cosmetics…
    When altruistic organ donation to save lives became widely acceptable I thought this was important & still do….But it seems as if the Science outpaces the ethics…..And now the politics discards the ethics…..Perhaps we are returning to the savagery of bygone Pagan Rome…..

  10. If you take the moral or religious part out of both issues, Artist, if a person donates eggs used in an infertile woman, there will be more eggs and that person couldn’t die as they would if they sold a kidney and then found their other kidney had some problems. There is also the invasive issue. This is major surgery. I don”t know whether to laugh or be horrified, but if you read the article, imagine the government giving you “free” health care if you would just sell that kidney to that big boy. How ironic.

  11. Hey Swell, how about those calls from India. you are late with your credit card payments and you still have a kidney? What’s next? Garnishees on kidneys?

  12. Ewww, they could garnish your cadaver, to settle the debt, then sell your face and stuff, too.

  13. It’s not my cadaver I’m worried about. It’s what they would like to do while I’m still alive. Maybe Tom Bosley can make a come back too. And hey, with those Burqas, you could sell your face and who would know? Or more likely, your husband could sell it for you.

  14. Uppity it’s about demeaning the body for profit….That is what my daughter and I talked about….since we are catholic this is an issue.

    btw…..there are risks to egg donation which are not widely published or discussed. The decision was my daughters but I asked her to research it ( and not just on the net )
    I was relaying something relating to what I see as moral ambiguity that leads to confusion…..Currently in America folks have a right to donate organs for altruistic reasons….and eggs and sperm for profit….which is one of the arguments used by proponents of selling organs for profit.
    Just sayin’

  15. Oh I understand the religious aspect of it Artist. I was just trying to compare the traumatic impact of the body as opposed to selling a kidney.

    Even if a person has no religion at all, you have got to consider the ethics here. I’ve known some atheists who were more ethical then some fundies I know. Make that most. lol. I am sure to them, this entire idea is unethical to say the least.

  16. And my parents used to tell me not to watch that science fiction “drivel”….if they only knew what was in the future! This is surely the creepiest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

    This is why I love coming to this blog…always something interesting to read…and have nightmares about. 😉

  17. Then there’s the parents who would sell their children’s kidneys for a crack fix.

  18. In the past, didn’t they allow the sale of blood? I seem to remember when my husband was in college that he said that some of his friends would go to the blood bank in order to pocket some cash when they needed it. I think they were only allowed to do it every few months, though.

    I’s not like selling an organ, but if I recall they stopped doing it because that’s when AIDS was spreading and some of the blood had been tainted.

  19. True that nunly….Uppity Woman has a positive talent to provoke contemplation on many levels…..Why I come here too….

  20. Yeah I like doing that Artist and Nunly. Imagine knowing me in person. lol.

  21. My recollection is that the ethical question on paying for blood came up because the people that relied on selling it were of course heroine addicts “milking blood” You still can get paid for plasma at private plasma banks….( most of which is sold to research facilities?)

    Just another way to exploit the widening breach and injet the european idea of class warfare…..

  22. I’d buy you a drink at the local pub Uppity….and then duck out if a riot insued….chuckle…..especially if Mary was there….

  23. Plasma, there’s another thing credit card companies could garnish.

  24. Ugh it gets more over the top each day…. maybe a day I needed to have a day off when I am off to schedule surgery…. I make wake up and find parts missing.
    Better take pictures inside and out!

    allowing people to sell organs for profit is totally unethical, seems everyone walking the halls in DC spend too much time trying to find any idea that comes to mind to keep the rich breathing!

  25. This is the link to the story about criminals killing people to harvest fat for cosmetics…..,2933,576159,00.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=F

  26. Hmmmm…..Babies sold for adoptions. Kids sold into prostitution.Girls sold to settle debts.Women sold into slavery. Peasants sold into slavery…..
    Yeah depravity seems to be gaining the edge…..

  27. Got the link from nunly…..whoa…..

  28. Well one thing about this is OBVIOUS!

    Congress is ahead of all of us on this issue.

    Obviously CONGRESS has
    ALREADY sold their BRAINS!

    la la la la (Congress singing – lead by choir masters Pelosi, Reid, and Obama) la la la

    If I only had a brain, my head would not be full of stuffing….. la la la la la

  29. LOLLLLLLLLLL Buttered! How true!

  30. Very creepy. I swear I think nothing else can surprise me and then something like this comes along, just WOW! I know you guys are all joking but we could seriously end up having to justify still having our kidneys. I think about the huge amount of debt we owed due to little somebody’s treatment… a doctor no less. What if he told us he’d take kidneys???

    The fat story is horrid too. I totally don’t get that either, please you don’t think you could find volunteers to donate fat??? Hell where do I sign up, LOL! Obviously I’m not talking about donating the way those poor people in the Andes did.

    BTW I’m sure they use plasma in research but they certainly use it for leukemia patients. There are several large companies that pay people to donate plasma and then they cook it down somehow and pull the immunities from it. The substance they end up with is called IVIG and it is VERY expensive. The batches come from multiple donors, but they contain immunities to everything the donor has been immunized for and everything they’ve had and any they inherited from their mother. They use it for some cancer patients and also for people with compromised immune systems for a whatever reason their immune system isn’t functioning properly.

    Little somebody had a rare side effect that required her to get monthly infusions of IVIG because her IgG or gammuglobulins were wiped out from chemo (that happens in less than 6% of chemo patients). It always scared the crap out of me because you have to sign that you understand that they can’t guarantee it’s HIV or hepatitis free, YIKES! But every time we tried to do without it she ended up with pneumonia we were damned if we did and damned if we didn’t. Just a little FYI about plasma……the companies get BIG bucks for IVIG depending on the size of the batch and gammuglobulins needed anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000 per IV. Little somebody’s IV’s were in the $10,000 to $14,000 range….every flipping four weeks! Of course we only paid 10% up to our catastrophic.

  31. Good one, Buttered! 😀

  32. OH DEAR GOD!

  33. I guess that’s a NO from you, eh Mary?

  34. I vote Buttered for Board Comedian!

  35. God, this is sick. Buttered – ROFL!

  36. OT – Angelina isn’t a barky fan! I keep reading that she wants to play the lead female role in a move for Atlas Shrugs, so maybe this is true:

  37. Hey Socal, where’s the dude Lakerwade?

  38. UW,

    Beyond the pale.

    Has Arlen Specter always been crazy, or has he become senile?

  39. wca,

    It’s a good thing I’m scrawny.

  40. Lakerwade has a cold & is supposed to be reading in bed (probably watching tv). I told him last nite that you said hi to him Uppity, & he came down to read it himself. He thinks its cool that you all remember him & says Hi!

  41. wca, that is the grossest thing I’ve heard in a long time!

  42. Tell Lakerwade Aunt Uppity says get well now!

  43. Mary, I have never been sure WHAT Arlen Specter is.

  44. 🙂

  45. Pamela:
    Bob Casey is a senator only because Rick Santorum is such a complete and utter asshole.

  46. “Mary, I have never been sure WHAT Arlen Specter is.”

    Yah, there’s a lot of that going around in DC.

  47. All I do know is he’s been in office far too long and is a poster boy for Term Limits. Congress is getting decrepit before our very eyes. We have Byrd looking like Strom, doing the Weekend at Bernie’s routine, propped up half dead, pressing that voting button. We have Murtha, whom I am sure at this point that, in addition to being a major thief is borderline senile. Kennedy was another one. Congress looks like some kind of skilled nursing home.

  48. They had better add pureed food to the Congressional cafeteria.

  49. {{ lakerwade }},

    Get well soon, you hear?

  50. “They had better add pureed food to the Congressional cafeteria.”


    maybe we can get the bib concession.

  51. I think the Arlen Clone # 5 is malfunctioning….alert the japanese….

  52. Which clone is that? The one with the pee stains on its pants?

  53. That was #4…lol….He also has food crumbs at the corner of his mouth….

  54. Maybe we can find a nurse Ratchet to send to DC to straighten them up.

    So I agree at times especially the Senate floor looks like a nursing home……so which ones wear depends?? Definitely Byrd….wonder who changes them?

    BTW I told my sister about the kidney thing a few minutes ago on the phone and she told me I was crazy nothing like that could ever happen here in the US. Awe isn’t it nice to be so clueless??? She also doesn’t believe the women’s health issues being excluded, the new mammogram recommendations or the new tax on “medical devices” many of which are exclusive to the female gender. She told me I was crazy and I needed to stay off the internet……because if CNN didn’t report it, it didn’t happen.

    So many people are clueless because they rely on the MSM for their news. Sooo if they don’t cover something it doesn’t exist.

    OK… everybody pipe up……who wears depends????

  55. “So many people are clueless because they rely on the MSM for their news.”

    Corrupting the media was the first order business for obama’s puppet masters. They did everything in exactly the right sequence. Thank God Rupert Murdoch belongs to a different old boys club than the rest of them.

  56. Would’nt it figure, Bob Casey, what an upstanding swell guy he is. Makes me ashamed to admit I am from PA. And don’t bother trying to contact him, because he does not respond, he is much to busy sucking up to his new BFF Obama.What a huge disappointment they both are, and if ever two politicians deserve one term, they are the ones! What a huge disappointment!!!!

  57. Just one more thing, that includes Arlen Spector also. What an idiot!

  58. UW has a “positive talent to provoke contemplation on many levels,” and she “like[s] doing that.”

    Sounds like one of those philosophy professors from univ. who would wryly toss the feed and nuances out to the pondering neophyte students.

    Awe. Head scratching. Awe.

  59. Wow somebody, your sister sure is curious. Not.

  60. Somebody, “the Senate floor looks like a nursing home……so which ones wear depends?? Definitely Byrd….wonder who changes them?”

    That is kind of discriminatory to the gray head/haired league. If only they exercised a little more wisdom and common sense, they might not give the impression of senility or Alzheimer’s running the country.

  61. Let’s see if I got this right. Donating your organs altruistically gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling because you wouldn’t accept pay. The Harvesters take the donated organs and SELL them to hospitals and doctors so they can make hundreds of thousands of dollars! Don’t THAT make YOU feel real good, huh?

  62. Sweet Jesus, what blew you into here? I wouldn’t have a “warm fuzzy” feeling because if they take my organs I will be dead. What part of that don’t you get? Now here’s your assignment. I want you to Google UNOS and read how organs are actually distributed.

    People who donate kidneys while they are alive normally do this because they are a match with a loved one, not because they are poor, destitute people who are being exploited by someone like you who wants to skip to the top of the list while others are waiting for years to be saved.

    You need to run along because for starters you are one rude dude. We put up with that from far left wing crackpots all last year and, now that I have perused your site, I am here to tell you we aren’t taking any shit from far right wing crackpots either. I removed your link and you will just have to get your traffic somewhere else. Your screen name alone tells me what you are. People wouldn’t be selling their living organs because they are greedy, you asshole. They would be selling them because they are desperate.

    Go try to push somebody else around. And by the way, learn the difference between “Don’t” and “Doesn’t” if you are going to act like you’re smarter than everybody else.

    Check Please.

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