While I can see how this is beneficial,
September 1, 2000 11:47 AM   Subscribe

While I can see how this is beneficial, it still completely creeps me out. Oh, sure, I'm getting used to the fact that I can buy anything and everything on the Internet now, but the idea that I can go to DiseasedOrgans.Amazon.com and toss a coupla pounds of cancer-ridden spleen into my electronic shopping cart is just a little too much for me...
posted by m.polo (4 comments total)
What I want to know is, who gets the money, the owner of the tissue or the hospital?
posted by aaron at 12:57 PM on September 1, 2000

The tissue broker gets most of the money; the hospital covers its labor and equipment costs by charging the broker. The patient gets nada.

The Orange County Register made waves with an excellent investigative report called The Body Brokers. The Chicago Tribune followed up with its own series, which helped propel the issue into Congressional hearings, although those articles (5/21-26) are in the coin-op archives now.

The basic thing is that there are strong ethical guidelines in place forbidding the sale of organs to patients or for profit, except under certain strict circumstances. There are no restrictions, however, on non-profit tissue and organ banks charging fees for operations, transactions, and research; and you're allowed to operate a for-profit company selling materials for non-profit purposes, as in the article linked by m.polo. Every legal tissue and organ bank for-profit company in the country has set up a sibling non-profit bank with which it works. It's not exactly illegal, and it's not exactly dishonest, but it's a bit dodgy. Even if you support the idea of tissue and organs for research, you have to face the fact that this is a major industry and the brokers that make it possible have to cover their high costs somehow.

The problem, as I see it, is generally one of disclosure.
posted by dhartung at 3:15 PM on September 1, 2000

HOMER: Mmmmmmm. Cancer-ridden spleen. Aaghaghagh...
posted by quonsar at 4:47 PM on September 1, 2000

I was just having a discussion yesterday morning about how cool it would be to be able to sell my body to a scientific establishment for a few grand after I die.

Put it in my will or something, or sign a contract, whatever, that stipulates my heirs (or a benefactor, I guess) will get cash for my corpse.

Uhh... assuming natural death can be proved, I guess. :-)

But what a great way to cover the funeral costs. I've already signed my driver's license (donating my body to research), I may as well ease some financial burden from my family in the process.
posted by cCranium at 5:34 AM on September 3, 2000

« Older This Census site is way cooler than the other...   |   Excellent Suck Skewering of Dick Cheney Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments