Thursday, September 03, 2009
Got Organs..? Anderson Cooper Shows Only Tip of Iceberg
You see the news headlines: Cheating wife tricks hubby into kidney donation. Brooklyn businessman traffics impoverished Eastern Jews for their organs. Mount Sinai duped in not-really-cousins kidney swap. China's black market for organs. The organ mafia. And there's Apple CEO Steve Jobs' speedy liver transplant done in Tennessee rather than his home-state of California.
Anderson Cooper is doing a special CNN 360 segment on this growing medical crisis--"Secret Harvest."
An estimated 10% of the 16,000 annual U.S. kidney transplants are illegal--meaning the donor is being paid up to $20K for his precious "gift." What two consensual adults decide to do with their bodies, or body parts, is up for ethical debate. But what's clear is that the need for organs will be skyrocketing.
The worldwide escalation of obesity and type 2 diabetes will increase the demand dramatically as hearts and kidneys fail from improper eating. And who will supply healthy replacements? Remember, only 8% of Americans eat right, exercise daily, don't smoke, and drink moderately if at all.
The excellent reality program "Hopkins," based on Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore had a wrenching moment when a heart specialist flew to make a life-saving transplant pickup only to discover the heart was unusable--the donor was obese and his heart encased in fat. Heartbreak for the eagerly awaiting patient and family back in Baltimore.
Even on the popular TV show "House," Dr. House quipped that 80% of the time, organs from the obese are unusable...
I'm sure the new CBS drama about a transplant hospital, "Three Rivers," will be all over this