Monday, November 19, 2018

The Philippines' Mandatory Kidney Donation Bill

   In 2008, The New York Times published:

   “MANILA — The Philippines is banning kidney transplants for foreigners, as part of a government crackdown on a growing but illicit trade in human organs bought from the poor, officials said Tuesday.

The ban is expected to take effect next month. Foreigners who violate it, as well as middlemen in the transaction, can be jailed for up to 20 years and fined as much as two million pesos, or about $48,000, the health secretary, Francisco T. Duque III, said at a news conference…

   …Given the risks involved in undergoing nephrectomy and the lack of benefits arising from the procedure to donors, the dead should be the first to put their kidneys on the line.” 

   In the Philippines, living donors are rare precisely because of the risk to donors.  The kidney patients refuse to pass on to their ‘family donor’ a future kidney failure or surgery complications and infection.  It does make sense that kidneys should come from the deceased. 

   However, religious superstition prevents the family of the deceased to approve the organ donation from their dead.  Centuries of non-Biblical doctrines spread by false preachers claimed that the dead can feel offense after death.  While the Bible indisputably states “the dead know nothing at all… their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they no longer have any share in what is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6)

   In 2013, Miriam Defensor Santiago filed the “Deceased Organ Donor Act” to promote the “deceased donor program in providing valuable treatment to those with kidney failure as well as in protecting the vulnerable sectors of society from the potential for abuse of living organ donors”.  Her bill was to provide organs from deceased donors to potential transplant recipients in order to eradicate the exploitative underground business of organ buying and selling.

   This year, Sen. Gordon’s filed a bill that one ups that with imprisonment for 20 years to anyone “selling and buying organs or performing organ removal and/or transplantation of an unauthorized person”.  His bill seeks to amend Republic Act 7170 or the Organ Donation of 1991, also called the voluntary organ donation system.  Gordon’s bill would authorize “the removal of any part of the body of a person who has died in the hospital or center for transplant to the body of a living person” unless in life the deceased registered an objection to any organ donation, below 18 years old, not a Filipino citizen or mentally ill and can’t give a valid consent.

   As a kidney patient on the transplant list here in San Francisco, US, I would like to offer my ten cents worth opinion on this issue.  I, too, never considered getting a kidney from a living donor because I do not want to be responsible for whatever adverse effect the donor might suffer.

   If I had the money, would I buy a kidney from the illegal trade, knowing that the middleman and the doctors will benefit, while the poor donor will eventually need the kidney back, then there’s no way to return it?  The selling donor would get a small fraction of the sale money.  That donor would spend all that he received and not see a notch of improvement in quality of life.  Mostly men, their hopes in a better finances for their family are raised only to be quashed when their health goes into downward spin.  They will then realize their children need money and they got no more kidney to sell.

   A cadaver kidney is fine with me, otherwise, I leave my longevity to Jehovah.

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