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Old 08-13-2004, 09:22 PM   #1
nycwriters
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Organ donation

Man launches multimedia search for liver
Plea for liver transplant on billboards, Web site
Thursday, August 12, 2004 Posted: 1829 GMT (0229 HKT)

HOUSTON (AP) -- Todd Krampitz's message to the world is simple: He needs a liver to save his life.

But the methods he is using to deliver his plea are unique, employing all the characteristics of a multimedia advertising blitz, including billboards, a Web site, a toll-free number and media interviews.

The two billboards, acquired at a large discount, along one of Houston's busiest freeways each announce "I Need A Liver -- Please Help Save My Life!" The Web site offers Krampitz's story and a flier to print out and post.

Krampitz, 32, was diagnosed in May with liver cancer and by July his doctors said only a transplant would save his life. He is hoping for a directed donation, meaning a family would ask that their loved one's harvested liver go to Krampitz.

"Unfortunately, tragedies happen every day," the Web site says. "If you hear of anyone that is in a situation where they could be a donor, they or their family can request that the liver be designated to Todd Krampitz."

The liver is the second most commonly transplanted major organ, after the kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which coordinates the nation's organ transplant system. As of July 30, there were 17,471 people nationwide waiting for a liver transplant, with 1,155 of them from Texas.

Krampitz's sister came up with the idea for the billboards, but his wife was hesitant at first, worried about perceptions that her husband is unfairly trying to get a liver ahead of others. But she believes he should be at the top of the list because the cancer could endanger the rest of his body.

The family bought space on two billboards along one of Houston's busiest freeways. They feature a photo of Todd, his plea, a Web site address and toll-free number, 1-888-How-U-Can.

"We are going to take as much action as we can to make things happen for Todd to survive," said Julie Krampitz, who married her high school sweetheart in March.

While it's not uncommon for people to buy billboards or build Web sites to advertise themselves for work, Krampitz's situation is unique because it is so personal and involves a life or death situation, said David Jones, vice president of strategy and planning for Energy Creative Partners, a Los Angeles-based advertising agency.

However, the United Network for Organ Sharing believes public pleas for directed donations run the risk of bypassing the established allocation system, said Dr. Mark Fox, chairman of the organization's ethics committee.

There are different criteria for different organs that regulate transplants. With livers, the sickest patients are at the top of the list.


Julie Krampitz: "We are going to take as much action as we can to make things happen for Todd to survive."
"Those criteria are explicit and they are clinically based," said Fox, with the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa. "Not having a level playing field is the concern that many of us have about this phenomenon of public solicitation."

Krampitz's family has been flooded with e-mails and telephone calls since the campaign started last month. Four potential donors didn't work out for medical or age reasons.

Krampitz, who grew up in Houston and operated a digital photography company until he became ill, remains optimistic, although he and his wife know time is running out.

"The tumor is so large it's like he has two footballs inside of him," said Julie Krampitz.

While the primary goal of the media blitz is to find a liver donor, Krampitz said he feels the family is also performing a public service.

"It's really getting the word out there that people need to let their loved ones know that they want to donate their organs."

--------------------------------

The man apparently got a liver yesterday. It was donated, specifically to him. But what kind of slippery slope will this create?

I can understand the need and urgency from the family, and surely there's no reason why he's not deserving of it ...

... but I'm wondering if this will now lead to different kinds of actions of people in desperate situations ... paying money for organs anyone?

So that would mean that given trends in commerce and capitalism, only the rich will get organ transplants.

Is this right?
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Old 08-13-2004, 09:31 PM   #2
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All I know is, if someone that I loved was dying of liver cancer, I would do everything in my power to get them at the top of the list, no matter how unfair it is.
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Old 08-13-2004, 09:46 PM   #3
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There can be some pretty funky criterea 'issues' in terms of who gets what WHEN they need it. I too would do anything I could if I needed an organ (or family/friends did)... regardless of the damn waiting list.

Although I always opted for organ donation on my license and donated blood regularly years ago, I can't donate blood or organs anymore You'd be surprised just how many people do not agree w/donation for a variety of reasons
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Old 08-13-2004, 10:48 PM   #4
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ii had this idea a long time ago. thought about it for a long time. here's what i came up with for what it's worth. in my idea a state could privatize the organ donation registry. at first it would simply be a way to decrease the record keeping burden of the state's motor vehicle department. once the system was privatized the contractor could begin to offer cash incentives for people to check the organ donor box on their driver's license. the incentive would be deferred until the donor's death whereupon, based on the harvestable organs and the donor's bloodtype, the donor's heirs would recieve a lumps sum payment. this would be a boon to anyone who hadn't properly prepared for their death. it would cover the donor's funeral expenses and add to any inheiritance. the donor themselves would never see the cash while they were alive, but it would be a sort of final gift to their loved ones. the initial consequence would be a dramatic increase in donor organs. the secondary consequence would be the end of mass graves for the impoverished, as in potters field. with a glut of organs on the market, the price of organs would drop after a time, seek a level based on supply and demand. certain tissue types would probably fetch higher prices that more common ones. but not necessarily because the organ failure rate is pretty much a gaussian distribution. the end result would probably be a net increase in the availability of organs to the general populace. of course the businesses running this flesh farm would need to be regulated heavily for safety and medical ethics. but i think it would be a net plus for society.
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Old 08-13-2004, 11:22 PM   #5
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VERY interesting ideas MoN... definitely gave me something to think more about
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:04 PM   #6
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what i didn't inderstand MoN was who would be paying the donor's family.also if you are wealthy enough you can buy organs on the black market. i remember not to long ago a man from i think china was arressted for this.
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:17 PM   #7
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the business would pay the families. they would, of course charge the insurance companies as they now do for many tissue types.
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:09 PM   #8
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The cash-for-organs scenario in pretty much any form tends to give people the heebie jeebies because (using a hysterical syllogism similar to the one that causes people to buy lottery tickets: someone must win : I am someone : therefore, I can win!) in a world where organs = cash at some level, there is always the possibility that desperation = premature death.

I think that if you want to triple mortgage yourself to get an organ that someone donates freely, all power to you, dude. Because it has a lot of other things to do, the health care system is often unable to be perfect in matters like fine-tuning priorities, and people need to be resourceful in correcting for that. Hence the influx of books for every condition imaginable telling you how best to "manage the system," i.e. what to tell your HMO, who to write to, etc. etc.
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Old 08-14-2004, 09:12 PM   #9
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Re: Organ donation

Quote:
Originally posted by nycwriters
The man apparently got a liver yesterday. It was donated, specifically to him. But what kind of slippery slope will this create?

I can understand the need and urgency from the family, and surely there's no reason why he's not deserving of it ...

... but I'm wondering if this will now lead to different kinds of actions of people in desperate situations ... paying money for organs anyone?

So that would mean that given trends in commerce and capitalism, only the rich will get organ transplants.

Is this right?
Of course that's not right. One of your best friends may need a kidney transplant in 20-30 years, and chances are, won't have the money to buy one on the black market.
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Old 08-15-2004, 11:47 AM   #10
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MoN's was good.

But here they simply changed the law: unless you opt out, you're in. Family cannot overrule.
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:07 PM   #11
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Wow, that's harsh! How good is the education around making everyone aware of that?
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Old 08-16-2004, 04:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Wow, that's harsh! How good is the education around making everyone aware of that?
Hang on. Double check. They haven't yet changed it - what they are currently changing is the family's right to overrule a person's documented wishes to be an organ donor.
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:49 AM   #13
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Ah. So if you sign your organ donor card, they can't stop you from donating. I think that's swell. I dunno about you, but here the cards specify whether you wish to donate your organs or cadaver. Rat Man was kind of insistent on the cadaver aspect, and I respect his discomfort at the thought of interns chuckling over my earthly remains. No matter to me, I won't be there to think of it, but he might.
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by madasacutsnake
MoN's was good.

But here they simply changed the law: unless you opt out, you're in. Family cannot overrule.
Seriously though, is there a vision of a time when you have to OPT OUT to AVOID having your organs harvested?

"Sorry, ma'am. He forgot to sign his organ donor card."
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Old 08-16-2004, 08:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Seriously though, is there a vision of a time when you have to OPT OUT to AVOID having your organs harvested?
Yes. It's a proposal which is being considered here to combat the shortage of donor organs.

I'm ruthless about it. When I was 24 I watched a 24 year old die from heart failure. He should still be here today.

Then there is a tiny part of me which has a problem with expecting people to kiss their brain dead loved ones goodbye in ICU and bear the knowledge that ultimately that person will die, alone, in an operating theatre.
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