Woman to Donate Kidneys on Dutch Reality TV Show
Filed Under: World | Posted: 05/29/2007 at 8:59AM
Comments | Region: Netherlands
A 37 year old terminally ill woman is scheduled to donate one of her kidneys on a Dutch reality TV show later this week. The Dutch program, which is allegedly designed to draw attention to the shortage of organ donors, will have the woman choose from one of three potential recipients.
The program, "Big Donor Show," has been attacked as unethical and tasteless by the countries ruling coalition parties Christian Democrat and Conservative Christian Union. One member of the Dutch parliament suggested the government should block Friday’s broadcast.
"We know that this program is super controversial and some people will think it’s tasteless, but we think the reality is even more shocking and tasteless: waiting for an organ is just like playing the lottery," Laurens Drillich, chairman of the BNN network, said in a statement.
He said waiting lists in the Netherlands are more than four years long and 200 patients die annually for lack of a donor. In the United States, waits can be even longer and while 77 people each day receive transplants, 19 people die waiting for transplants that never take place, according to the U.S. Government Information in Organ & Tissue Donation and Transplantation.
The network identified the donor as "Lisa" a woman with an inoperable Brain tumor. During the show, she will hear interviews with the three candidates, their families and friends, then will decide who will get her kidney.
As spokeswoman for BNN said there could be no guarantees that an actual donation would be made but once a recipient is chosen the "intention" is to give the kidney. According to Dutch donation rules, her wish to donate to a particular candidate wouldn’t be valid after her death. If Lisa does donate one of her kidneys while alive, the other kidney may still be awarded to someone else on a national donation waiting list under the country’s organ allotment system.
Like American idol, viewers will be able to for whom they feel is the most deserving candidate via SMS text message but Lisa will be the one who makes the eventual decision. The chances of any of the 3 contestants getting the kidney is about 33%, higher then the actual chances of being on a waiting list for an organ donation.
BNN says it wants to highlight the difficulties faced by kidney sufferers in getting donor organs as a tribute to BNN founder Bart de Graaff who died of kidney failure five years ago, despite several transplants. The show is scheduled to be aired this Friday.