Selfish Kidney Transfers

The headline atop Brian Maines’s Denver Post story states, “Selflessness, to the third power: 3 kidney transplants to occur simultaneously across country.” However, the transplants seem to involve entirely selfish behavior:

Martha Hansen, 48, of Albuquerque will give a kidney to Maggie Mrva, 56, of Denver at the Aurora hospital.

Mrva’s husband, Slavo, is in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he will give a kidney to an Alabama woman who wished to remain anonymous.

A friend or relative of the Alabama woman (also anonymous) is in Wake Forest, N.C., where the person will give a kidney to Hansen’s friend Robin (who wishes not to identify herself further).

All six parties benefit in this mutally-beneficial exchange. Three people get kidneys. A husband helps save his wife. And two people help save their friends. Sounds like a spectacular deal to me. If my wife or a dear friend needed a kidney, I’d be ecstatic to be able to participate in such a program, because my participation would be a supremely selfish act.

Unfortunately, the federal government forcibly prevents most potential mutually-beneficial kidney transplants, thereby causing the premature deaths of thousands of Americans, as I’ve pointed out. Thus, while we should be thrilled for the three people receiving kidneys, we ought not forget about the tens of thousands of people kept on waiting lists by the federal government.