NOTE-THIS ARTICLE IS NOT PART OF MY FANTASY FICTION BLOG . I STARTED B.B.T.F.B. IN 2014 BUT THIS ARTICLE IS SPECIAL. IT WAS PART OF A UNIVERSITY ASSIGNED GROUP PROJECT TEAM BLOG. THE GROUP BLOG HAS BEEN DELETED NOW AND THIS ARTICLE HAD NOWHERE TO GO SO IT STAYS HERE UNTIL I DECIDE TO START A NEW BLOG. BECAUSE IN REALITY THIS ARTICLE WAS THE FIRST ONE I WROTE AS A BLOG ARTICLE. FOR THE MARKS OFF-COURSE. BUT THIS WAS WHERE MY CURIOSITY FOR BLOGGING BEGAN.
When going through some second hand books at an open stall after college one day my hand paused at a book called Coma by Robin Cook. Flashback. I remember an old friend telling me that this book had been a good read. Since this happened a long time ago maybe when I was in school you would wonder how I would remember something like that but when you’re a book lover these things come naturally to you. I could not remember the context in which we discussed that book, I could not remember what the book was about, I could not even remember the friend who told me about the book but I remembered the words “that book is worth reading”. I’m also a book hoarder. I hoard fictional novels and when I find the time, I read them at leisure. So when I found time and the moment felt right I got down to reading Coma and after I finished reading, I felt strangely unsettled. I love books that leave me with a feel good feeling at the end but I also admire those books that leave me unsettled. Because any book that leaves you that unsettled is the mark of a well written book no matter what the content.
This book dealt with the controversial issue of black marketing of organs carried out by a group of doctors and medical practitioners who hijacked the organs from patients after putting them into a coma and killing them. They had a tie up with rich patients and well to do people in the higher strata of society who had need for kidneys and were willing to pay a higher price for that. So it got me thinking if such things are so scary in books and movies how much more scarier would it be in real life? Let’s leave aside people who are killed for their organs just because they happen to be the right match. There is no question as to whether that is right or wrong. It is plain wrong to rip the organs out from a person without their consent and to kill them in cold murder. People who practice such things have the darkest place in hell reserved for them. To me doctors, surgeons and middlemen who take part in such practices are vampires of the medical world, only they don’t just draw out your blood and leave you soulless, they leave you dead and show you how soulless they are.
But what about those people who enter the organ trade willingly. While it’s no big secret that organ trade is illegal and organ donation is not only legal but encouraged, the bigger question still remains as to whether the selling of organs should remain illegal or be made legal. Suppose I had a friend, a close relative or family member who needed an organ, take in this case a kidney, or say the worst thing happened and I’m hanging on a fine line between life and death and I decide that I don’t want to die just yet. We all know that certain organs like kidneys are always in short supply and that there are a million recipients already on a never ending waiting list. What decision would I make? Where does the line between right and wrong come into being? I’m an ordinary human being and I think that the will to live would force me to enter into a trade via the black market. It’s very easy to sit back in your chair with life going on good for you and judge people for making that choice willingly. But it’s a different thing altogether when you find the same thing happening to you.
I raise my hat to those people who make that choice willingly both the recipient and the seller because no matter what the reason for the trade, making a choice like that requires courage and guts. Particularly because the nature of the trade is illegal. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support the trade when innocent people get killed, I don’t support the trade when either one of the parties is unwilling in the trade process especially when it comes to the poorer sections of society because in some cases they are really left with no choice even though that may be debatable. But I do support the trade when both parties are of sound body and mind and when they have the right to decide for themselves. What I’m saying is that at least give them the benefit of making that choice by themselves. A kid who sold his kidney for an I-pod recently made big news, with many stating that he didn’t know what he was doing. On the other hand I think he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew what he wanted to do with the money he got from his kidney and since he managed to undergo a kidney transplant without his parents even knowing you could tell that he had done his homework and so he would probably be well versed with the consequences. But he went ahead and did it anyways. At least he made a choice. Whether it was the right one can be debated.
Although the notion of donating your organ is a highly noble one I feel the choice between giving your organ away for free or selling it for cash must be left up to the individual. Let the individual make a choice. Because at the end of it the seller is losing an organ so if he wants to be compensated for that then he damn right should be. He is even saving a life in the process. So let us not sit in the judgement seat on that count.
This may be me in a totally idealistic frame of thought but sometimes I catch myself wishing that the trade be made legalized through hospitals itself because it would give the recipients and sellers a safer platform for carrying out the trade. It would also remove the need for middlemen since recipients and sellers will be in direct contact with each other through a medical professional. Also a going rate for organs must be fixed, standardized and affordable so that the seller does not cheat the recipient in the process and so the organ becomes like something of a commodity which can be bought at a certain price. The going rate for kidneys range in the black market now range from anywhere below $ 10,000 to $ 4, 00,000. Since for most part the setting of the price depends on the seller, the recipient may bend to his will, but if a going rate is set then both parties will have to adhere to the same and it may discourage a lot of people who are entering the trade merely to make a lot of money. How would this affect the poorer sections of society then? Again from an idealistic point of view they aren’t paid a lot for their organs anyways. If a going rate is set then not only are they promised a reasonable amount of compensation but are even guaranteed safe operating conditions, both of which they don’t receive most of the time. If the middlemen would be removed there would be less pressure for them to sell their organs leaving more room for the poor people to decide for themselves. It would remove the concept of the black market out because people would be able to advertise the need for their organs through legal means of advertising and the trade would become more transparent. Maybe people may even change their attitudes towards it one day. Maybe people would stop getting killed for their organs since there are many willing sellers already present in what would then be a legal trade.
Maybe I’m bonkers even putting all of this down. But again that is the choice I get to make and well your choice to judge me (although I wish you wouldn’t). I open the floor for discussion.