An organ transplant -- especially when it's a repeat job -- is never a simple operation, but all things considered, Annika seems to be doing pretty well. I'm still keeping her and her family in my thoughts and prayers.
On one of the posts about her (not here, on another blog), someone posted a comment urging people to join something called LifeSharers. Their stated goal is to increase the number of organs donated and reward the people who choose to donate, by giving people who commit to donate organs higher priority to receive organs themselves. They're doing this by creating a free membership organization, where the condition to belong is that you commit to a) donating your organs and b) specifying that other members should get priority for those organs.
There's an interesting logic here. It gets around the primary objection to paying people for their organs (e.g. that the amounts involved could be coercive, and might motivate your next of kin to make decisions that were in their best interest rather than yours). They explicitly don't require that you be in good enough health for anyone to use your organs to join, so there's no discrimination in membership. (Although, as T points out, since they seem to be mostly recruiting through the internet, there's a procedural bias towards the populations that are more likely to use it.) And this doesn't appear to be one of the predictably irrational cases where you make people less altruistic by offering an external reward.
But, in looking at their site, it seems like many of the people who are endorsing it are at least as motivated by a desire to show that incentives and free markets can produce a better outcome than government solutions as they are by they desire to have more organs transplanted.
Because there's another very simple way to increase the number of organs that are available for transplant, that they don't mention at all. Make organ donation opt-out, rather than opt-in. In other words, rather than having to specify that you want to donate your organs (and then have your next of kin confirm that intention), it would be assumed that you gave consent for donation unless you specified otherwise. This sounds like a radical concept, but a bunch of European countries do it, and they have donation consent rates between 85 and 99.9 percent*, compared to less than 30 percent in countries that have opt-in policies.
Fundamentally, these alternative approaches to increasing donation are based on very different hypotheses about why more people don't donate. LifeSharers is based on the hypothesis that there's not enough of an incentive to donate. Opt-out is based on the hypothesis that thinking about dying freaks people out and so they avoid doing it as much as possible. I'd put my money on the latter.
The UK is considering moving to a system of presumed consent. Does anyone think it has a chance in the US?
*Sweden is the outlier here, at 85.9 percent, with no other opt-out country at under 88 percent. I wonder if there's some cultural issue here against organ donation, or if they're more aggressive than the other countries in making sure people know of their right to opt-out. Either way 85.9 percent is a heck of a lot higher than 30 percent.