KIDNEY TRANSPLANT: AN OFFER FOR LIFE IN SHORTAGE

Keywords: Chronic Kidney Deficiency, Kidney Transplant, National Greek Transplant Organization, EuroTransplant, European Commission Survey, Artificial Kidney, Kidney as an Economic Good.

The treatment of Chronic Kidney Deficiency is an ongoing problem as this disease
leads to mortality. Research teams have been able to develop temporary solutions
through technologies such as haemodialysis, which have dramatically improved the
quality of life of patients, while kidney transplantation has been achieved in the recent
past, increasing life expectancy.
Although kidney transplantation is the optimal – albeit not a long term –
solution, Greece showed some awareness of this issue only in 2000 by establishing
the National Transplantation Organization, through which thus an increased rate of
transplantation has been materialized. On the other hand, countries in the European
Union -with Spain being a prominent example – have achieved significantly better
results than Greece through the establishment of transnational organizations such as
the EuroTransplant.
This can also be confirmed by the 2009 European Commission survey where
the old Member States of the European Union show increased awareness of the issue
of transplants – with the exception of Greece – in comparison to the new Member
States. However, this awareness is generally very low, resulting in an extremely large
discrepancy between the demand and the supply of kidneys.
As the problem calls for an immediate solution, scientists at the University of
California are currently performing clinical trials on biotech kidneys as an alternative
to the shortage of supply. Other approaches – including those presented in this research – are considering the demand and the supply of kidneys as an economic commodity through a market mechanism with or without state intervention, but they
are faced with bioethical issues relating to the assignment of value to human life. Αs
millions of patients are in demand of a kidney, an effective solution to the situation is
required.

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