News: A growing number of patients are using Facebook to find living donors. And an ethical debate rages on in the medical community. Some medical ethicists fear the use of social media creates a separate organ donation system in which the cutest kid or most computer literate person receives a transplant, allowing them to bypass long waits for organs from the deceased.
“There’s potential discrimination and unfairness. The more tech-savvy you are the more likely you are able to make this work,” said Dr. Robert Veatch.
The United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit that manages a national transplant waiting list, uses a complex formula to decide who on that list gets an organ from a deceased donor or a living person who decides to donate to anyone. The nonprofit considers how sick a patient is, how well a donor would match, the length of time an organ has to travel and other factors.
Ethical concerns, however, doctors say, aren’t unique to social media and have existed as long as anxious parents have made impassioned pleas on television or patients rented billboards to share their plight with the masses.