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First successful organ transplant donor dies
December 30th, 2010
02:04 PM ET

First successful organ transplant donor dies

Ronald Lee Herrick, the man who made history in 1954 when he donated one of his kidneys to his twin brother, died Monday at the age of 79. It was the world's first successful organ transplant, giving Ronald's brother, Richard, eight more years of life. The medical pioneer died at the Augusta Rehabilitation Center in Maine.

The surgery took place at what is now Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston and lead surgeon Dr. Joseph Murray was awarded the Nobel Prize. At the time,the procedure marked the beginning of a new era in medicine that was so groundbreaking some considered it unethical to take an organ from a human being.

The Herrick brothers helped pave the way for organ donation back in 1954.  Now, 56 years later, organ transplants are much more common. In the first eight months of this year alone, 21,648 people received transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

But according to those who knew him, Herrick's legacy was much more about his gifts as a teacher to than about his kidney donation.  The Boston Globe reports Herrick was a math teacher in Northborough and Winthrop, Maine until retiring in 1986.   He later became a math instructor at the University of Maine in Augusta before retiring again in 1997.


soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Buffy1234

    I would give my kidney to my husband or my siblings even if it would gain them even one more year to live.

    December 30, 2010 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Devin

      I want to be a organ donor. My dad has Renal disease, and I would give him everything I have, I know the only thing keeping him alive is his dialysis... But I am to young to be a donor, and id give anything to have a couple more years with him. And reading your comment made me smile, So thank you. Just knowing that you'd be willing to give loved ones a piece of you is outstanding, sorry if this is "cheesy" just felt i needed to comment.

      January 4, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
  2. Hayes

    My brother gave me a kidney 29 years ago. We both are still doing great.

    December 30, 2010 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      I just want to say: that is great! I wish the both of you many, many more years of good health.

      And, as a side note, I really hope you're a donor, too :)

      December 30, 2010 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
    • Beethovenopus27

      Probably the greatest gift one human being can give to another. Very nice.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      29 years with a donated kidney is fabulous! Glad to hear it and here is to your next 29 years!

      December 31, 2010 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • Krystal

      God bless you both Hayes! I was a donor in March, but unfortunately my kidney was rejected. Hearing the success stories is always uplifting!

      December 31, 2010 at 02:07 | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      That is awesome... I can not imagine the bond the two of you share.. Just awesome !

      December 31, 2010 at 05:35 | Report abuse |
    • Anjali

      Long live bot of you..

      December 31, 2010 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
    • bill

      I received a kidney from my sister 17 years ago and we are both doing great. I thank her every time I see her.

      December 31, 2010 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
  3. whatnext

    "Now, 56 years later, organ transplants are much more common." Than the first successful one? You're kidding.

    December 30, 2010 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Al

      Ha! Good catch.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
  4. Sonia Leiro

    Thanks to my son got a transplant 4 years ago.
    Bless the doctor and the brothers for what they did back in 1954.

    December 30, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wzrd1

      And doubly bless the donor.
      No, triply bless the donor.

      December 31, 2010 at 06:13 | Report abuse |
  5. Melinda Webb

    I hope more people see this story n decide 2 become organ donors.its a wonderful gift.

    December 30, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • whatnext

      I've told my family and girlfriend, and have it in my legal papers. In a recent article about a recipient of a face transplant the family of the donor said their daughter had been able to help 50 people. That's an amazing number.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      I've told my wife AND it's on both my military retiree record AND drivers license. At least when I go, my body will continue on as spare parts.
      That said, our family doctor quipped, at our last visit, that we are on the list for a full body transplant... ;)

      December 31, 2010 at 06:15 | Report abuse |
  6. laredo84

    How brave of what they did back in the day when it had not yet been aproved by other heartless human beings. this story should open our eyes and be thankful for the health we have and help us become organ donors without making so many excuses.

    December 30, 2010 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • leeintulsa

      Those heartless people and their kin are the same ones against stem cell research now.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:20 | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      Do you realize that those heartless people that you are talking about could be your parents, or maybe their parents. Because someone doesn't believe something doesn't make them heartless. I'm a donor and I think your comment was a little bias.

      On another note, if you aren't a donor, you should look at doing so. This isn't limited to organ donor, blood is a supply that we all have and it can be the matter of life or death to the individual that needs it.

      Ronald, may you rest in peace. Thank you for not only your teaching in schools, but teaching the importance of life as well.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
  7. Shannon

    One donor can save the lives of over 50 people. I'm a donor, it's on my driver's license. Are you? Please consider becoming one, to save the lives of those potential 50! They will be forever grateful and you will live on in them. What a special gift of life you can give, even through death.

    December 30, 2010 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bandit

      Be aware that in some States your family must still approve even if your license says you are a donor. My wife and children are all donors and have made it very clear to give permission immediatly upon any of our deaths.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      @Bandit- if you are registered as an organ donor (which is NOT accomplished by putting it on your drivers license) your family cannot override your wishes... go to http://www.donatelife.org (i.e.- donatelifetexas.org, etc) and register.

      December 31, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • xvp40

      Until a richness needs your stuff, then something minor turns into your death. The doctor says ops! and collects that money! ;)

      December 31, 2010 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
  8. erica

    When i was a baby i needed a transfusion to save my life. today im an organ donor. its a wonderful feeling just knowing only 1 pint of blood can save several people

    December 30, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Private

    Was wondering how true it is about... If you are a organ donor and for example you get into a wreck and they see that you are a donor, does that hinder them saving your life, doing EVERYTHING they can to save you.???

    December 30, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EricinOH

      There is no incentive to kill you (or do less than everything to save you) to get your organs. First, the ER doctors that are trying to save you are not the same doctors that manage the organ pool, so at worst they only have some nebulous incentive to get your organs...but they have a much stronger incentive to save your life. This sort of paranoid BS should NOT prevent you from becoming a donor and saving multiple lives.

      December 31, 2010 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
    • kay

      I seriously doubt that the ER doctors have even seen your driver's license as they are in emergency mode trying to save your life! What a stupid comment! They probably don't worry about your organ donation status until they were unsucessful after trying everything they could to save you. Come on now... what do you think happens? The nurses are yelling BP is dropping HR is falling we are losing him and the doc goes...hold on lets see if he is an organ donor and then I will decide if I should put this life saving medicine in his IV. Seriously? You probably think stem cell research is a horrible idea too, although it can prevent many many diseases, not just prevent, but cure!

      December 31, 2010 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
    • Nonya

      Kay- That person asked a question, he/she did not make a comment. So chill out and slow your roll. As far as I'm concerned, no question is a stupid question.

      December 31, 2010 at 06:40 | Report abuse |
    • BMarie

      @ Kay I completely agree with Nonya! It was a simple question being asked. "What a supid comment" its actually what a STUPID REPLY!

      December 31, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • SarahK

      I had a 30 year old friend who was listed as a donor. She was in the hospital and during recovery from surgery, a blood clot formed and went to her lung. The doctors did everything to save her but they were unable. She was thus unable to donate anything except her corneas. I hope this alleviates your concerns. It was sad that she wasn't able to save someone else's life but I am glad that the doctors pulled out all the stops to try to save her.

      January 10, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  10. N.Ryan

    That's all good but watch you are going to have some nuts running around killing people who has donor on their lic just to get body parts and to make a ton of money. Wasn't there some weird thing on the news of a doctor or somone selling dead people body parts? Maybe I watched too many horror movies. lol...

    December 30, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay-Jay

      It was an episode of NCIS.

      December 30, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse |
    • EricinOH

      Yes, you've watched too many horror movies.

      December 31, 2010 at 00:07 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Kay, she was asking a question, no need for your educated lecture. And what do you know? Doctor!!!

      December 31, 2010 at 02:43 | Report abuse |
    • mtngrrll

      Yes, there was a scandal at UCLA medical school, as well as several other schools in California, and numerous funeral parlors in the South. The "parts" in question in CA, were from whole body donors (cadavers) and were being sold for surgeons conventions and similar things, and the sales not being reported to the school but instead the money being pocketed by the employees. The funeral home scandals were mostly people receiving ashes of their loved ones back following cremation, and then the discovery of corpses stashed in a garage or out behind the facility that were supposedly already 'returned' cremains.

      December 31, 2010 at 03:35 | Report abuse |
  11. keisha

    Give the gift of life be an donor !

    December 30, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Marisande

    To N. Ryan – yes, there was a guy selling dead people parts for medical supplies – Michael Mastromarino – Body Brokers: Inside America’s Underground Trade in Human Remains by Annie Cheney. And yes, China does a brisk trade in organs immediately after their pre-Christmas executions (why else would they blood type their death row inmates?). And Yes, Larry Niven posited this particular scenario in Sci-Fi way back in the 70s. That said, I'm still down for organ donation. Why molder in the grave when you can save a life?

    December 30, 2010 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EricinOH

      None of those scenarios is even remotely germane to becoming a legitimate organ donor.

      December 31, 2010 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
  13. Revrant

    23 or 24 and gave his twin eight more years of life, I would do the same, and I already am an organ donor.

    What it must be like to lose your twin...gosh.

    December 30, 2010 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Katsrule

    "At the time,the procedure marked the beginning of a new era in medicine that was so groundbreaking some considered it unethical to take an organ from a human being"

    Sounds familiar? Christians and their stupid opposition to stem cell research. 56 years from now people will look back and say: wow, some people really stood in the way of medical advancement for no good reason at all.

    December 30, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Marisande

    Correction – 1967 The Jigsaw Man by Larry Niven – the first known theorizing about organlegging made compelling fiction... but truth is stranger than fiction... isn't it?

    December 30, 2010 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Marisande

    Katsrule – it isn't particularly Christian to not want science to run amok! One more reference – haven't seen the movie but Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Never Let Me Go has another sinister view – cloned children – "students" raised to be mini-organ farms – five donations and then "completion". To quote both Shakespeare and Aldous Huxley – "O brave new world, that has such people in it..."

    December 30, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. makoto whitmore

    I would share an organ with my wife if it meant time with un pained love with her i love you happy newyear 2011 GO!

    December 30, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Marisande

    One last comment – I did NOT offer to donate to a much elder sibling, childless, single, who needed a kidney. I have children to look out for, and the cold equations, and the Vulcan quote apply: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". It's okay though, she got a dead guy's. Nobody should be pressured into a living donation for any reason – it is very, very risky, recovery time can be life-changing, and it is entirely possible that you will need a donation later yourself.

    December 30, 2010 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Really?

      Marisande, please choose some other reading material. Truth is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction, but it sounds like your brain is oversaturated. No more sci fi, umkay?

      December 31, 2010 at 01:40 | Report abuse |
  19. leeintulsa

    Yeah, don't wanna turn it into a christian\non-christian thing. No need to point fingers – no one agrees with everything ANYone says. It's a human thing, and those against it are... Almost fell for it. Not this time lol

    December 30, 2010 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Antonio

    What a great legacy. There are so many TRUE heroes in the world. It is an embarrassment that we spend so much time and energy following the lives and escapades of such losers as Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, "Snooki" (whoever the hell she is), Paris Hilton and the rest of them. There are many, many people who have made a difference in our world and we should give them the credit they are due and ignore all these loser "celebs."

    December 31, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • leeintulsa

      Real heroes require no credit. Or attention? Snookie, et al, as far as i know, don't get credited as 'heroes', do they?

      December 31, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
    • Not a donar

      Agreewitht your comments referring t0 real heros.
      Let's include some more;such losers as Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, "Snooki" (whoever the hell she is), Paris Hilton and the rest of them such as Rahm Emanuel & Nancy Pelosi. You brought politics into it, not me.

      December 31, 2010 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
  21. Cherry Battaglia

    Ronald Herrick was my math teacher in Northboro in 1957. It was amazing to know him and that he was the first organ donor. He told us all about the process and we were fascinated. It had never been done before. What he did was a great contribution to the field of medicine and he is responsible for so many people being able to extend their lives with transplants. And now we can carry a donor card with our drivers license so that we can help others. Thank you Mr, Herrick for your wonderful contribution to humanity!

    December 31, 2010 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Grindal

    Kudos are due to all involved, especially the Donor of course. However none of it would have been possible without the years of difficult and risky research done by Immunologists to create the knowledge and experience that made it possible. The Surgeon that led the Transplant team was possibly courageous, but he was just doing what Scientists had shown him to do. The first successful organ transplants preceded this event by more than a decade and was not even acknowledged in this article.

    It's typical of the lightweight 'reporting' that goes on these days, but please remember that Physicians are rarely the first to do anything. Scientists lead the way and Physicians copy them.

    December 31, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • independentasian

      While not original in concept, the surgeon was an innovator in technique and procedure. Many physicians are also basic scientists by the way. It is one thing to nail down the basic science concepts, which I acknowledge is fundamentally important, but there is a huge difference in conjecture, transplanting mice or rabbits, and getting it done in a human being. The surgeon deserved the Prize. He did just decide to do this, you can bet years of thought and simulation went into it. The basic scientists who discovered MHC (used for donor matching) btw, also got the Prize.

      December 31, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse |
  23. twinkle

    admire all the comments at least there r good human beings still left in this sinful world...not the world the people make it that way..

    December 31, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. leeintulsa

    I'm pretty sure my mother fell into that category, my dad not so much. I used heartless because someone else did. Maybe narrow-minded would be better.

    December 31, 2010 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jose Luis Martinez jr

    I donated a kidney to my brother, thank God I was able to so

    December 31, 2010 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. WENDY

    THE MOVIE COMA WITH MICHAEL DOUGLAS OVER 25 YEARS AGO.

    December 31, 2010 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. sakura iwagami

    it is a sin to take blood or organs from another human. it's wrong. people should just accept their fates.

    December 31, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Midwestmatt

      What are you talking about? Some ancient rule or law made up by some idiot without running water or knowledge about the most basic bits of science?

      If you, or the cult you follow, think it's a sin to take blood or whatever from a donor, then don't take any but leave your creepy, controlling crap to you and your misbegotten ilk and let others live and thrive while you and your fate do you in.

      December 31, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
    • ybs

      how/on what basis did you conclude that it's a sin?

      December 31, 2010 at 06:30 | Report abuse |
  28. Thorrsman

    A "sin"? According to who? Besides you, I mean.

    December 31, 2010 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Not a donar

    I'm NOT a donor. Here's why. Years ago, I had a friend in med school. He told me the University got cadavirs from people that agreed to be organ donors on their driver's licensesHe said most of the people offering to donate organs end up being cadavirs in University med schools. I was shocked and decided to not be a donor because it's misleading if this is true. Although a worthly and noble donation, this is NOT what I thought organ donation was.

    December 31, 2010 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Untrue

      What your "friend" told you is untrue. There is a vast difference between being an organ donor and a body donor. I have witnessed organ harvests, during which usable organs are removed–corneas, heart, lungs, liver, kidney, bone, etc. It is done with great precision and respect, as during an ordinary surgery on a human, and the incisions are closed in such a way as to leave the body cosmetically ready for viewing by the family, if desired. Those who choose to donate their bodies to science expressly make this clear to their physicians, in their wills, etc. There is no slippery slope between organ donation and donating your body to science, although individuals who choose to do either are generous beyond measure.

      December 31, 2010 at 01:50 | Report abuse |
  30. chappythedog

    While a med student, I had the incredible fortune to listen to a lecture by Dr. Murray about that monumental day in medical history and all the events leading up to and thereafter. I can understand that some people disagree with medical procedures such as this, but humans are blessed with a brain and the compassion to endeavor to save others from unnecessary morbidity and mortality. I see no downsides.

    December 31, 2010 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Not a donar

      Thanks for sharing this story. In 1954 how did they stop his body from rejecting the organ?
      Did they have anti-rejection drugs in 1954?

      December 31, 2010 at 01:25 | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      There were no immunosuppressant drugs in 1954. The transplant worked because the donor and recipient were identical twins – so closely matched that drugs were unnecessary.

      The first immunosuppressant, Imuran, was introduced in 1962, followed by cyclosporin about a decade later. More have followed, improving quality of life and survival rates immensely.

      December 31, 2010 at 02:03 | Report abuse |
  31. Midwestmatt

    Complete crap. Try getting some real knowledge before spouting some "fact" that is so far from the truth that it's laughable.

    December 31, 2010 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzi

      That is so NOT crap, as a transplant patient I was told that if my donor had been an identical twin no immunosupressants would be necessary. The newest anti rejection pills are called Tacrolimus & have far less effects than cyclosporin etc. Before immunosupressants were around, the recipients would only live up to 3 months, so I suggest YOU go read up on info!!!

      December 31, 2010 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
  32. Tia micky

    R.I.P. RONALD.

    My 17 year old nephew was never sick or in the hospital for anything couple of weeks ago he was feeling sick and my sister took him to the hospital we find out that his kidneys are not working and need a transplant we could not believed we are now learning about it and all going to get tested to give anthony one of our kidney please put him in your prayers he is kind and a very smart kid who love Jesus.

    December 31, 2010 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jonahpapi

      My prayers are with you. I just donated my kidney to my brother on Dec 15th. My brother has had diabeteis for over 20 years and never had many issues until just last year. In Jan. he was told his kidney's were functioning at 25% and he needed to begin to look for a donor. He told all our family in Jan. and we all got tested within months. Long story short it took us 11 months to get a surgery date and that was quick. We are all blessed that we made it without any issues and both my brother and I are recovering nicely. I pray for your nephew and your family, I am confident that you will be able to save a life via donation. God be with you!!!!

      December 31, 2010 at 03:14 | Report abuse |
  33. Takara

    "At the time,the procedure marked the beginning of a new era in medicine that was so groundbreaking some considered it unethical to take an organ from a human being."

    Just like how stem cell work is looked at today.

    December 31, 2010 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. jonahpapi

    I just gave my brother my kidney on Dec.15th and I hopeful it will give him many more years to come. I am still recovering and in the 2 weeks since the surgery my brother is functioning great already. This was truly a blessing for all involved.

    December 31, 2010 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. unitwan

    http://67.42.80.195

    wow

    December 31, 2010 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. ybs

    Ronald, Richard, and Dr. Joseph Murray, thank you for pushing the bleeding edge! You have made many happy!

    I'm a donor because every day that we experience is precious; and I don't give a hoot about what happens after we die! :)

    'http://bit.ly/twitterybs

    December 31, 2010 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Papoose

    Great Story

    My husband gave one of his kidneys to his Mom and his sister(my sister-inlaw) gave one of hers to his brother(my brother-inlaw). All four in the family now have one kidney each and doing great.

    December 31, 2010 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Don from Montreal

    My Partner of 34 years had a liver transplant 2007 and only .lived for another 8 months before he died from complications. But those 8 months gave us such joy and happiness and hope for the future. HE is gone, his suffering is over, and I will have those precious 8 months forever i my heart.

    Please be a organ donor!!

    December 31, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      Don, It is important to "make the days count" rather than "count the days"..34 years is a major accompishment, I am happy for you that you found some peace in it all.

      December 31, 2010 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
  39. MLS

    I donated a kidney to my sister in 1985. For those of you who might consider doing this, there was only one week of pain- to save a life! A new operation started in the late 1980s has made donation "easier" in that it can be done laproscopically in most cases. Of course, this means less time under anesthesia, less resulting pain and a much quicker return to normal activity. My sister is now 64 and the kidney has served her well. I am 59 and have no issues as a result of the donation.

    December 31, 2010 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. MLS

    I apologize – I donated the kidney in 1995, not 1985. And the new operation began in the late 1990s. Senior moment there:-)

    December 31, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Edyta

    Organ donation is by far the most unselfish act. Interestingly, I was told 3 years ago I needed a kidney transplant. 2 of my good friends offered to give me a kidney right away. I was overjoyed! When the time came to donate, they both changed their mind. My mom ended volunteering without a second thought. I absolutely do not hold it against my friends that they decided against it and I am very grateful to have such good people around me. It is risky and it can change the donor's life as well. But I would say to you all, be careful making definite commitments and promises regarding organ donation to potential recipients, unless you are 100% sure you would do it (like in case of a child for example). You just maybe the only hope for someone in a desperate need and changing your mind is worse than not offering in the first place. It can be really devastating. You may have the best intentions in heart but once you are faced with the reality, you may feel differently. I surely wish my friends would not offer rather than saying "no" to me after they volunteered. I know it was harder for them to say "no" to me after they agreed than it was or me to not get it. At the end, my kidney function improved end I did not need the transplant. Three members of my family tested and were ready to go if need to. My family was the one that cared the most. I never realized how much love there is between us until we were faced with this issue.

    December 31, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Jeannie

    When my mother met my stepfather back in the early 70's, he had been an organ recipient, a kidney. She married him and he lived until about 8 years ago. He lived a long life and had an interesting outlook on life after his experience. I & my children are all organ donors because of how he talked to me about it so much when I was growing up. It's something that has always been important in my life because of him. May he rest in peace.

    December 31, 2010 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. porkchops

    RIP Herrick brothers

    December 31, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Lisa

    For the person who expressed the spiritual belief that blood and human organs should not be exchanged, and that people should accept their fate, I commend you for your courage in making that comment. Your belief(s) should be respected, and, to those of you who think you know it all, may be absolutely correct. No one knows for sure. Therein lies the chasm and argument between science and the spiritual plane.Those of you who have not noticed that there are other countries, beliefs, and lifestyles than America's, there's your wake-up call, you bunch of Archie Bunkers, you! Americans truly are a self-centered, ignorant, know-it-all group of people.

    I also would support organ donation, generally. However, the person who asked if there may be incentive for those saving lives to not put so much effort in if there were kick-backs offered for organ donation – that is absolutely a strong possibility in the good ol' USA where cash is king and capitalism reigns supreme. Anyone who dismisses that as hooey is an idiot. Corporate America runs the hospitals now, as just about everything else. Money runs the show, ethics are almost non-existent, and if organs bring in more to the bottom line than a human life (not that human lives have ever been discounted before, no , never!), then that will be the business of the day!

    And, I still believe in the concept of organ donation and would probably do it but I would need to take a long, deep look into how that business is being run and who is really benefiting. I also believe in the concept of labor unions, and lots of other good ideas to help people.

    Now is probably the time to donate organs and really help people before the process becomes corrupt.

    December 31, 2010 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Lisa

    It reminds of organizations such as United Way where crime was able to penetrate. The same will happen, if not already, with organ donations and insurance companies. It always does. That doesn't mean that a larger percentage of the organization(s), both donor organizations and medical facilities, and their processes aren't healthy and work to the benefit of the patient. It's up to the watch-dog groups to monitor fiercely, for consumers/donors to do their homework...there are a lot of factors. Abuse, however, is rampant wherever there are significant dollars spent.

    I believe the positive experience of those of you who have donated, and those of you who have been recipients. The message of the day is to think critically. Never put your life (or death) solely in someone else's hands, whether that be a civil or criminal court judge or jury, a doctor, a intermediary, or even your mother.

    These aggregated comments from people of varying walks of life writing in help CNN journalists explore this subject matter further in a way that garners most, if not all readers. I don't know if CNN is affiliated with Time Magazine but the next published, in-depth report on this subject will cover all of the previously touched-upon issues concerning organ donation today. That's why they have "post a comment". Marketing tool.

    December 31, 2010 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. noway

    Really. I think is great for the kidney thing. Sorry, not for me. Did you know that parents actually donate one of there kids to get rich and its called all for the love of God. It is better to sacriface one child to save 30 . Don't think so. This is horrible and should not be allowed. I think only if its for a kidney or maybe part of a lung. Take your Fate! Quit thinking that it is ok do be a organ donor.That just makes the people think that it is ok to breed a child for this horrible thing. Grow up.

    January 2, 2011 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. jerseygirl

    Please don't assume that because you check off organ donor on your license you will automatically be used. My nephew was perfectly healthy and then broke his neck in a car accident. When I asked why they didn't take his organs no one in the family knew the answer but I heard on NPR recently that hospitals normally only use patients who have already been in the hospital. If that is true it would explain it. I know it happened in DE so it bears checking out. Watching ER makes people think that accident victims are used all the time. Very confusing.

    January 4, 2011 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.