Stories tagged South Carolina

Mar
09
2007

Kidney cost: What's the value of receiving a donated kidney? That's the question South Carolina legislators are dealing with over a proposed law to reduce sentences of prisoners who donate their organs.
Kidney cost: What's the value of receiving a donated kidney? That's the question South Carolina legislators are dealing with over a proposed law to reduce sentences of prisoners who donate their organs.
How valuable is a donated organ?

That’s the question South Carolina legislators are grappling with as they consider a measure to give state prisoners time off from their sentences if they donate organs to needy patients. For instance, giving up a kidney could reduce a prisoner’s sentence by 180 days.

While the idea was gaining momentum in the current legislative session, lawmakers are now holding off on making a decision until they can get a ruling on federal laws regarding organ donations.

Those laws make it illegal to gain anything of “valuable consideration” for donating an organ. That generally means that people can’t be paid money for giving an organ. But is getting time off from a prison sentence “valuable consideration”?

Organ donation advocates in South Carolina see the concept as a way of saving a lot of lives and getting more needed organ donations into the pipeline.

During the run of Body Worlds at the Science Museum last year, I had many interesting conversations with visitors about organ and body donation. But this topic never came up. It strikes me that there are a lot deeper ethical questions to consider with this.

Personally, I think there’s too much self interest in donating an organ to shorten a prison sentence. The act of organ donation should be like giving a gift, with no strings attached.

What do you think? Share your comments here with other Science Buzz readers.

A biology professor at the University of South Carolina found a new shark species lingering in the Atlantic Ocean near South Carolina. The shark resembles a scalloped hammerhead but has yet to be classified or named.