December 30, 2016

"Self-Driving Cars Will Make Organ Shortages Even Worse."

Slate warns us about the downside of not enough car-crash death.

74 comments:

rcocean said...

Maybe we could thing of some way to increase accidental deaths in some other way. What about getting rid of the Homicide laws? Think of all the organs we could get!

YoungHegelian said...

No problem, Slate.

We can just set up a program in the few remaining states under Democratic control where the organs of Trump supporters are harvested in a medically supervised setting. You know, just like the Chinese government does with its dissidents & prisoners.

Oh, don't give me that look! You know the thought had crossed your mind....

rcocean said...

Large scale production of Self-driving cars will never be practical until they get do something about the liability laws.

Matthew Sablan said...

See. This is why people call Slate ghoulish.

JaimeRoberto said...

I wonder if Slate is in favor of allowing people to sell a kidney. Or is death the only acceptable way to donate?

Original Mike said...

Hopefully, we'll be getting our organs from pigs by then.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Oh, I don't know. Somehow I expect self-driving cars to uphold their quota of organ donations.

The Drill SGT said...

""Self-Driving Cars Will Make Organ Shortages Even Worse.""

By that argument, Guns are great and Chicago should be selling healthy organs from 17 y/o men to cover its debts.

Hunter said...

If only we could think of some kind of incentive system that would persuade more people to part with things they value irrationally but are of zero use to them after death.

Some kind of system that would help the supply of such things to more closely resemble the demand for them.

chuck said...

This is right up there with "Smoking cessation will lead to a funding crisis for schools due to a loss of tax revenue".

n.n said...

Planned Dignity. You know you want to. Perhaps an enhanced class diversity scheme.

rehajm said...

Motorcycles produce much of the inventory.

rcocean said...

I think Slate can get another Click-bait article out of this later on. Suggested title:

"People think World War III would be all bad. Here's why they're wrong".

Birkel said...

3D printing seems better than car accidents.

mockturtle said...

I agree with Hennesey. And I hope these marvels of technology are restricted to urban areas that I can avoid.

mockturtle said...

Per rcocean: I think Slate can get another Click-bait article out of this later on. Suggested title:

"People think World War III would be all bad. Here's why they're wrong".


Good one. How about:
The surprising health benefits of heroin.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Clayton Hennesey said...

Oh, I don't know. Somehow I expect self-driving cars to uphold their quota of organ donations.

Why do you think that?

madAsHell said...

Is this the demise of junkyards? Where will I find quality used auto parts?

Maybe all cars with a flashing "check engine" light will be sent to carousel, and renewed at 30 years of age?

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Interesting article. Slate barely touches on the question: if you make incentives to donate or sell organs stronger, do you make incentives to save lives weaker? If the U.S. moves toward a single-payer system (admittedly questionable now), does that also lower the incentives to save lives?

It surprised me when some of this came up in November on this blog: http://althouse.blogspot.ca/2016/11/when-this-patient-loses-his-pulse.html

Minorities worry they will be seen more as organ donors, less as patients. Slate says: don't worry, many recipients of organs will also be minorities.

The promise is some kind of artificial organ; the reality so far is somewhat grimmer.

Bob Boyd said...

In this case the car crash is the middle man. Just eliminate the middle man by programming a certain number of self-driving cars to lock the doors and take the occupant to Organ Receiving.

Eustace Chilke said...

Want to totally eliminate this shortage? End the institutional organ monopoly. Allow people to do things like donate to specific recipients of their choice. Even (gasp!) pay donors. Think you own your body? Certainly we hear this asserted again and again by abortion advocates. If ownership means disposing of it as you choose, then you do not. Set up a price list for your own organs similar to what Planned Parenthood did with baby parts and take bids and see what happens.

rhhardin said...

Just lower the driving age to get the organs flowing back in.

Sam L. said...

OH who can save us from this menace and terrible fate????!!!!!?????>

mockturtle said...

Then there's this: Self-Driving Cars Deciding Who[m] to Kill

whswhs said...

You know, this is the kind of thing that Ayn Rand wrote about. Slate's writer seems to think that human beings have more value as sources of organs to benefit transplant recipients than they have as living people who didn't die in car crashes thanks to improved technology. I remember Rand writing about cornea donors and suggesting that, if you really believed in the altruist ethic, you should advocate taking corneas from sighted people to make up for the shortage . . . but she was doing it as harsh sarcasm. It's hard to do satire in today's world, though. . . .

Earnest Prole said...

Like Peak Oil, rumors of Peak Slate have been greatly exaggerated.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Clayton Hennesey said...

Oh, I don't know. Somehow I expect self-driving cars to uphold their quota of organ donations.

Why do you think that?


Because the systems controlling them have not yet had the benefit of 2.5 billion years of cumulative death-proofing survival training. They're merely cute.

If parallel large takeovers of traditional systems by cyber like Google and Wikipedia are any example, the death rate from self-driving cars will always be scored as an acceptable, optimal user experience.

Mark said...

I had thought we had abolished the idea that the human body is chattel, with individual parts articles of commerce.

n.n said...

Perhaps we could adjust the meaning of viability, life, or evolution. The Pro-Choice Church could pull another fantasy out of the twilight zone.

Bob Ellison said...

Motorcyclists call cars "boxes". Gotta think outside the box! Driverless motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic like they're high on meth!

Bob Boyd said...

It would be stupid to sell your organ.
Lease it.

Mark said...

Perhaps we could adjust the meaning of viability, life, or evolution.

The organ harvesters have already done that with a moving goal post definition of death. Already as it is, a person with a beating heart can be (and is) declared "dead." In fact, in order for a heart transplant to be viable, there needs to be a beating heart death declaration. If they wait for natural cessation of heartbeat, then the heart muscle will begin to die and it will less useful for transplant.

Quaestor said...

If the staff of Slate are that concerned they could remedy the situation themselves.

Quaestor said...

It would be stupid to sell your organ.

Spot on! What would your monkey do?

Fred Drinkwater said...

Slate == The Onion
Welcome to 2017.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Mark said...
I had thought we had abolished the idea that the human body is chattel, with individual parts articles of commerce.

12/30/16, 12:04 PM

Planned Parenthood hasn't gotten the message. Fresh baby skin goes for something like $375. Hey, it would just go in the trash can anyway! They're all about recycling...

Bob Boyd said...

Lease the organ to a known slacker. When he misses a payment, take it back, keep the huge upfront deposit, do it again, like a trailer house. Just keep flippin' that kidney.

jimbino said...

If only we could think of some kind of incentive system that would persuade more people to part with things they value irrationally but are of zero use to them after death.

Some kind of system that would help the supply of such things to more closely resemble the demand for them.


There is no enduring and annoying surplus or shortage in a free market. The solution to organ shortage is to recognize the right of everyone to his own body. Every person should be allowed at age 18 to sell his organs to be harvested upon his death. The proceeds could be used to fund education, a first house, overseas travel or a business. There would be no losers except for those who think they have the right to control the lives and liberty of others.

pst314 said...

"just like the Chinese government does with its dissidents & prisoners"

Remember all those "be like China for a day" liberals?

walter said...

Birkel said...3D printing seems better than car accidents.
--
Or pig(gy)-bank

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Clayton Hennesey said...

Because the systems controlling them have not yet had the benefit of 2.5 billion years of cumulative death-proofing survival training.

Yeah, but we all know that Intelligent Design can do in a few thousand years what it take evolution hundreds of millions of years to do. So there is that.

Self driving cars will be better than human drivers. Almost certainly within 20 years.

Jupiter said...

What this demonstrates is that organ transplants have negative societal value to begin with. You have a process in which a healthy person dies, an unhealthy person is made somewhat less unhealthy, and a bunch of medical professionals make a boatload of money. Why is this a good thing? Who would be distressed that it might become less common?

FullMoon said...

Clayton Hennesey said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Clayton Hennesey said...

Oh, I don't know. Somehow I expect self-driving cars to uphold their quota of organ donations.

Why do you think that?

Because the systems controlling them have not yet had the benefit of 2.5 billion years of cumulative death-proofing survival training. They're merely cute.

If parallel large takeovers of traditional systems by cyber like Google and Wikipedia are any example, the death rate from self-driving cars will always be scored as an acceptable, optimal user experience.


Self driving Ubers ran red lights first day out in San Francisco.Banned and Shipped off to Az within a week
Have seen SD Google a couple of times, with a passenger

Howard said...

All you alt-right snowflakes can't stand the concept of externalities. Maybe that's why Trump Country is obese, on welfare and addicted to oxy.

An even bigger problem with self driving cars is the loss of skill operating a powerful machine in a chaotic environment. The addiction to autos has been the root of American exceptionalism in the post-war era. This is the slippery slope down the eurotrophication abyss of the American brain.

Sterling, Massachusetts said...


- People can already direct their organ donation to family and friends.
- Countries with good donation rates aren't always opt-out systems. The US has a very good donation rate and it is an opt-in system. Spain is good and is opt-out but their rates are high for a variety of reasons - mostly having to do with in-hospital organ donation coordinator roles which would be ethically unacceptable in the US.
- Creating a market for organs from living donors is possible. Creating a market for organs featuring, say, monetary negotiations between hospitals and the parents of dead children will never happen so it isn't worth arguing about.
- Death declaration whether by cardiac criteria or by neurological criteria are both equally valid and "brain death" is not a lesser form of death.
- Pig organs and 3D printed organs aren't happening any time soon and are not real answers to any short term or medium term organ shortages.

Gahrie said...

Donald Trump discovers a cure for cancer.....Slate headline the next day:

"Trump throws doctors out of work!"

Lydia said...

Speaking of China's way of handling organ "donations", it's so very interesting that New Zealand -- which sponsored the UN's anti-Israel resolution -- has still not joined the EU, the US, the UK, and Australia in condemning the practice.

mockturtle said...

Self driving cars will be better than human drivers. Almost certainly within 20 years.

They will have to pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

jdniner said...

Come on... We have the technology and incentives to build robotic surgeons right into the cars. Crash.. organs harvested.. time and money saved.

Hunter said...

I would be very happy to have a self-driving car for my commute, or for trips back home to see family.

And I enjoy driving for pleasure. I own a Miata and I race it. That is fun. 20 minutes of stop and go traffic is not fun. 5 hours on an interstate across flat land with mostly trees for scenery is not fun. Those are wearying chores that I will gladly let technology do for me while I sleep or read or just relax while listening to music and podcasts, or literally anything other than performing the chore.

Joe said...

What's unspoken is that most organ transplants are a short term fix. Even with a perfect match, they have to load the recipient with drugs and the organ is rejected within five to ten years anyway. (I'd naively assumed that with anti-rejection drugs, the transplanted organs lasted five times as long.)

(Here's an interesting article on heart transplants: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/sep/01/sarahboseley1)

William said...

I'm just glad that J.S. Bach did not live to see this sad day.

Mark said...

"Brain death" serves no purpose except as an excuse to go and gut the person for his or her organs. No responsible person would do an autopsy or send them to the funeral home for embalming when the heart is still beating but some ghoul who wants their organs declares them "brain dead."

No woman who is truly dead can continue to carry a pregnancy and later give birth, and yet in today's politicized medicine, there have been more than a few "dead women" doing so.

Bay Area Guy said...

I don't want self-driving cars.

I do understand that the vast majority of car accidents are driver error, and that driving is dangerous and costs lives. But, to me, the risk is worth it.

I like driving.

I have extremely fond memories of driving down the 101 freeway in California, listening to Bruce Springsteen, dreaming of girls, dreaming of college, dreaming of life.

I don't think I could capture that experience just sitting in a driverless car.

Now, when I get old, and can't see, and have no reflexes, and can't remember what I had for breakfast, and some family member wants to ship me off to the Denny's Blue Plate dinner special at 3:30 pm via a driverless car, well, we can talk then.

mockturtle said...

While I won't argue that transplants are bad, there is little discussion of the fact that the recipient has to take body-destroying drugs for the rest of his/her life. Organ transplants are far from being the panacea many would have us believe.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Hey, why not just have the cops arrest and execute random Americans to fulfill the organ deficit? Kind of like the Chinese already do, except more targeted -- let's have mandatory, universal tissue-typing first, so we know what we're getting.

Honestly, the Slate writers can't see that substituting a healthy individual killed in a car crash for a sick individual with kidney or liver disease is a net loss? That making auto accidents basically nonexistent is a net gain? That fewer dead people means, well, fewer dead people?

I suggest that everyone who holds this view of organ donation read a good dose of Larry Niven.

Sterling, Massachusetts said...

"Brain death" serves no purpose except as an excuse to go and gut the person for his or her organs. No responsible person would do an autopsy or send them to the funeral home for embalming when the heart is still beating but some ghoul who wants their organs declares them "brain dead."

When a brain is deprived of oxygen and blood it ceases to function. This is irreversible and the grey matter is nothing but goo. What allows the heart to beat is the fact a machine is pumping oxygen into the lungs and that keeps the heart beating. The person is not alive in any sense. You could theoretically take the heart and lungs out together put it on a profusion pump and you would claim the dead body was still alive some how because a heart and lung were going through automatic responses. Ridiculous beyond belief.

Sterling, Massachusetts said...

While I won't argue that transplants are bad, there is little discussion of the fact that the recipient has to take body-destroying drugs for the rest of his/her life. Organ transplants are far from being the panacea many would have us believe.

Actually, there is a lot of discussion about these drugs. However, most folks when faced with immediate death versus a chance to live another twenty years on annoying drugs, they will take life. Many folks do very well after transplant. Some don't. Most think it was worth it and appreciate there added years of life.

Lem said...

Amputee prosthesis advances hit hard by war drought.

Phil 3:14 said...

Broken window fallacy.

Joe said...

versus a chance to live another twenty years on annoying drugs,

That's the point: few live for another twenty years. Most don't live past ten, five for some organs. Transplant centers and charities go to great lengths to hide the actual mortality rates and the ones they do publish are often at odds with studies done by independent parties.

How could a person make an educated decision about this with such sparse information?

Michael K said...

Motorcycles produce much of the inventory.

Helmet laws in California produced a big drop in donors. I was running a trauma center at the time.

We had a coordinator, a nursing supervisor who was interested in transplant, who dealt with the families.

We had very few families that refused donation. The treating physicians did NOT interact with the families once brain death was established.

Now, live donor liver transplant is the greatest advance in transplantation since I was in medical school.

At centers with experience, the outcomes of LDLT can be comparable with those of DDLT even in patients with MELD scores ≥35. When donor risks and recipient benefits are fully considered and balanced, an MELD score ≥35 should not be a contraindication to LDLT. In Hong Kong, where most waitlisted patients have acute-on-chronic liver failure from hepatitis B, LDLT is a wise alternative to DDLT.

LDLT is live donor liver transplant. A lobe of the donor liver is taken and results are quite good.

Engineered transplants are coming.

In the current review, we briefly summarize these advances, including the generation of high-quality liver extracellular matrix scaffolds, evaluation criteria for quality control, modification of matrix for enhanced properties, and reseeding strategies. These efforts to optimize the methods of decellularization and recellularization lay the groundwork towards generating a transplantable, human-sized liver graft for the treatment of patients with severe liver disease.

It's coming. Just like drug induced insulin secretion by anti-malarial drugs that cause insulin secretion.

Quinine causes hypoglycaemia by stimulating insulin secretion, as a consequence of its ability to close ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels in the plasma membrane of pancreatic β-cells (Bokvist et al., 1990). This induces a membrane depolarization that triggers calcium entry, a rise in intracellular calcium and, consequently, insulin release (Ashcroft & Rorsman, 1989).

This may not be the cure but it is interesting.

Doug said...

Boo frickin' hoo.

Doug said...

When autonomous vehicles are commonplace, you will still be allowed to drive your own vehicle ... IF you can afford the insurance premiums.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

execute random Americans to fulfill the organ deficit? Kind of like the Chinese already do, except more targeted

Pro-Choice/abortion coupled with Pro-Choice/diversity managed by clinical cannibals including Planned Parenthood.

R.J. Chatt said...

Good thing medical research is focusing on stem cell research.

"Medical companies throughout the world are pinning their hopes for miracle cures on stem cell therapies. By definition, an embryonic stem cell is one that has the potential to turn into any cell in the human body. Because of this unique ability, stem cells are central to the field of regenerative medicine which seeks to restore or establish normal bodily function in sick patients by regenerating human cells, tissues or organs.

Israeli researchers have long been at the forefront of this fascinating field. This is, in part, due to a head start provided by Israeli government policy and strong social support for research using embryonic as well as adult stem cells. As a result of this support, Israel has birthed a plethora of academic research as well as some notable biotech companies putting the tools of academia to practical use."


But of course Obama wants us to identify Israel as a UN condemned nation because of them building homes in of all places, The Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.

Sterling said...

That's the point: few live for another twenty years. Most don't live past ten, five for some organs. Transplant centers and charities go to great lengths to hide the actual mortality rates and the ones they do publish are often at odds with studies done by independent parties.

How could a person make an educated decision about this with such sparse information?


Not so.
Tons of info at: https://srtr.transplant.hrsa.gov/annual_reports/Default.aspx
and www.srtr.org

Really, I don't know where you are coming from. Listen, if you are dying of heart failure and don't want a transplant fine, there are many others who will take a new heart. Just move along.

Sterling said...

Instead of people making up data, go here to see mechanism of death for donors, cause of death, death on the waitlist, state data, regional data, on and on and on.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/


tim in vermont said...

Lower the price of motorcycles, problem solved.

tim in vermont said...

When he misses a payment, take it back, keep the huge upfront deposit, do it "again, like a trailer house. Just keep flippin' that kidney."

That's how Whitewater worked. It was a scheme to bilk poor people who dreamed of a nicer life out of any extra cash they may have accrued.

MrCharlie2 said...

How about self driving motorcycles, that could make up the difference!

urbane legend said...

Howard said...

An even bigger problem with self driving cars is the loss of skill operating a powerful machine in a chaotic environment.


President of the Fiat 850 Driver's Club heard from.

JAORE said...

So when Uncle Fred is dying, but his organs are fine, why can I not "sell" his organs (laws can change)? Going rates could easily be set. Or better, a bidding war for the better matches.

Why does the surviving family get no monetary benefit, but the docs and hospitals do?

Does the government own the family member's body, or does the family? If it's the government, why don't they pay for the doctor's bills and the funeral?

Don't tell me the result will be families killing off old Fred, and I won't tell you the insurance companies do the same

Oh yeah, the poor, poor, poor will be left out.

No they won't. If there is a financial benefit, the donor ranks would swell, driving price down. And good old Uncle Sugar would be sure to subsidize the organ needs of the poorer folk.

(Only half kidding here. Ask me why "price gouging laws during emergencies like hurricanes are counter productive.)