Jerusalem Post
Nov. 28, 2004 6:33
Letters to the Editor

Where's the incentive?

Sir, - Comments made by Prof. Jonathan Halevy, director-general of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and [Jewish medical ethics expert] Prof. Avraham Steinberg concerning organ donation smack of double standards ("Health Ministry refuses to finance expenses for US kidney donors who want to save Israelis," November 21).

While Israel should do everything to be self-sufficient, this need not preclude organ donation from the Diaspora.

No one raises moral issues about raising millions of dollars from American Jews - is there no poverty in America?

Concerning financial incentives for organ donation: Every charitable organization knows that in order to be successful in raising funds it needs to give tax-exempt receipts. This financial incentive, while it certainly encourages donations, does not negate people's altruism.

A similar type of incentive should be provided for organ donation.

DR. HAROLD PERL MD
Board Member
Halachic Organ Donor Society
Bethesda, Maryland

Health reporter Judy Siegel responds:

As I said in my report of November 21, Prof. Halevy has suggested passage of a Knesset bill that would give monetary compensation for time, pain, and medical expenses, though not a profit - to altruistic Israelis only who want to donate one of their organs for transplant. The bill would explicitly rule out foreign donors.

If Israelis, who have among the lowest rates of cadaver organ donations in the world, see that foreigners are willing to come here and donate one of their kidneys to a desperate recipient, they are likely to be even more reluctant to become donors.