Dr. Arthur Matas, a prominent kidney-transplant surgeon, is pushing for one change that it’s doubtful either Titmuss
or Singer would like. Lately, he’s been traveling the United States making the case for lifting the legal ban on kidney sales. That ban was imposed in 1984 by an outraged Congress after a Virginia physician had proposed buying kidneys from poor people and selling them to the highest bidder. By contrast, Dr. Matas isn’t trying to make money. He would like the government to handle kidney sales, and the kidneys to go to whoever is at the top of the current waiting list, whether the patient is rich or poor. And that list grows longer every year as the gap continues to widen— it’s now nearly five to one—between patients in need and the number of kidneys available from either living or deceased donors.
With eligible patients often waiting for five or six years, more and more people are taking Dr. Matas seriously, but many experts still balk at the idea of organ sales. One of them is Dr. Francis Delmonico, a professor at Harvard University and president of the network that runs the nation’s organ-distribution system. He worries that Dr. Matas’ plan would exploit the poor and vulnerable, that it would cause altruistic kidney donations to wither, and that wealthy patients would manage to find a way around a regu- lated market to get a kidney faster.25
1. Did Plasma International strike a fair bargain with the West Africans who supplied their blood to the company? What factors go toward fairness of the bargain, and which go against?
2.? Explain why or why not.