'Kidney swap' a first for Canadian doctors

Does this seem ethical to you?


In a Canadian medical first, four people with severe kidney failure received new organs from living donors in simultaneous “kidney swap” operations in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto.

This innovative and logistically complex “domino” transplant began at exactly 10:30 a.m. (ET) in three time zones. That’s when the donors, who all travelled from out of province, were anesthetized in two operating rooms in Toronto General Hospital, one in Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital, and another at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Despite the novel nature of the multicity, multiorgan procedure, the core complexity is actually one of ethics. Kidney swaps are based on the idea of paying it forward, whereby a donor whose kidney isn’t compatible with their loved one, who needs a new kidney, agrees to donate to a stranger. In exchange, their partner receives a kidney from someone else.

I don’t see a problem with it. Nor do I see a problem with people being paid organ transplants. Everyone involved in the procedure is getting paid (except the recipient who is paying for it all).

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