There is a HUGE international controversy growing around a TV show here. First a backgrounder. As in the entire world, we are facing a shortage of organ donors. To counter that, the administration issued a law a few years ago where every citizen turning 18 is asked to state his or her preference in writing. The preference can be:

  1. Yes, I want to be a donor;
  2. No, I do not want to be a donor;
  3. I leave it up to my family to decide when I’m a goner;
  4. I leave it up to a specifically named person.

Not turning in the form automatically means option 3 of course. The answers are kept in a registry doctors can query should the occasion arise. The idea of the legislation was to make people THINK about it and to avoid putting this huge decision on family members in time of distress, often leading to a NO.

The rapid individualization and xenophobic fear, mixed with this confrontation with ones mortality has actually led to the numbers of donors going down, if I remember correctly, about 20% of the population is an active donor. A proposal to make the non-deciders a donor by default was fought down by the largest Christian oriented party (how pro life). Some people suggest only donors should be receivers, or only people who don’t drink or smoke themselves to death should be allowed to receive.

Now here is the story. Coming Friday, one of the more controversial networks her (BNN) will air a show where a terminally ill 37 year old woman will decide who will get her kidneys when she dies one of her kidneys shortly before she dies. The three candidates have to “sell themselves” to her, and of course she will be advised by the public through SMS voting. Hey, somebody needs to pay the bill. The network, under huge pressure, has refused to knee-jerk. One of the arguments they use is: “hey, these 3 receivers now have a 33% chance to get a kidney. In the current system it is a magnitude lower”. We are talking about approximately 1000 people waiting an average of 4 years. They also state that one goal, putting the issue on the map, has more than succeeded already, everybody is talking about it. Legally it is all sound, as we’re talking about a living person giving away her own kidney. One must assume, if only for arguments sake, that all 3 receivers are equally compatible. Almost all comments are negative, leaning on ethical and moral arguments. One Christian member of parliament even called upun the administration to forbid the show. Mind you, that would be a breach of our constitution! Still, one COULD say “it’s my kidney, I decide who gets it”. I do have an opinion about this but I would love to hear from you! Comments please!

p.s.: Add this to the prejudice list about my country, haha.

Disclaimer: I am a donor. I have carried a codicil since I was, oh, maybe 12 years old, way way before mentioned law. A family friend who b.t.w. is still alive now more than 30 years later, is a kidney patient and she had to go through the dialysis routine every 3 days.

Added: a few clarifications about what we’re factually talking about.

Added: things are heating up. Present will be CNN, Al-Jazeera, Reuters, Associated Press, ZDF and Nippon TV.

Added: Show just ended. It was a hoax. Man, a few early critics, including our PM, will be pissed. I am having a good laugh!

Added/Update: Friday evening, the registry logged 18.000 30.000 form downloads. By now, the registry has logged 50.000 more form downloads than usual. Which is no indication of course; we should wait to know how many are REALLY turned in and with what result. Not too bad though. The last 7 days has seen more talk about this subject than the7 years before. Administration is still studying. Let’s close this for now, cause if we have to wait for any action from that end…….