Re: organ donation

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 21:33:24 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Trade can sometimes have paradoxal effects. In Britain they lowered the
> pay for blood donations in order to improve the blood quality - many
> alcoholics and other addicts were donating blood to pay for their habit,
> making much of it substandard...

Seems like there is a much better way. Currently there
is a chronic shortage of blood, particularly O negative.
Stanford uses two techniques to deal with the problem,
both of them bad: first, they call all the regular bleeders
asking for a donation (even if they are not eligible for
having bled just last month) which is mildly irritating and
tempts one to just say no, as well as making one less
likely to donate in an actual emergency.

Second, they have started taking more blood from each
donor, jumping directly from 420 to 500 ml. That is too
big of a change for starters, but furthermore they do not
adjust the size of the donation to the size of the donor.
At 57 kg, I miss that 500 ml more than my 110 kg buddy
who I have talked into donating.

What if, instead of offering 20 bucks cash, they would
spend 20 bucks on a quickly chemical analysis of the
blood, measuring iron levels, sugar, lipids, etc, to provide
the donor with a few numbers she could keep in a
spreadsheet. This way she could note trends or unusual
readings, perhaps providing advance warning of medical
problems, kind of a free and convenient mini-health
screening with a bonus warm fuzzy.

Junkies and drunks would not likely care, and so would
stay away, whereas this system would draw in the
worried well, the hypochondriac crowd, the well fed
vitamin-quaffing upwardly mobile, just the kind of
blood you want filling your bank to overflowing. Could
we not make some kind of electronic chip or device that
measures a dozen different blood chemicals for 20 bucks
each? I think we can. Furthermore the recipients would
glaaaaadly pay 20 bucks a unit more for the blood
knowing it came from the health conscious, eh? spike

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