Vail Daily letter: Organ donation a non-issue
It is unfortunate that an election for Eagle County coroner has become shrouded by the introduction of the Colorado Donor Alliance into the discussion. It has been clear since a Forbes Magazine article, “Organ king,” published on Nov. 1, 1999, that the U.S. organ transplant system is broken, unfair and corrupt. An integral part of that system are the 58 organ procurement organizations across the country of which the Colorado Donor Alliance is one.
The U.S. organ transplant system works for those who are fortunate to get an organ. Of the 114,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, few get transplants each year. And, as the list numbers increase each year, the number of organ transplants stays pretty much the same. Five thousand people annually die on the waiting list and an untold number of others die after being removed from the list. Nevertheless, this so-called nonprofit system reaps billions of dollars annually in called what is euphemistically called “organ procurement fees.” Colorado Donor Alliance is one. These organ procurement organizations do all they can to make sure the system doesn’t innovate so their revenue streams are protected.
The Donor Alliance 2012 IRS Form 990 shows $31,225,642 from organ “donations” and tissue sales. Excuse me, organ procurement fees. On line 22 of that 990 return, Donor Alliance submitted the organization has $52,262,344 in fund balances. The President/CEO is paid $408,000 per year. Of the top eight executives, five earn more than $200,000 while three others earn over $150,000. This is an organization ineffective in doing its job. It seems a candidate for Eagle County coroner has not done her homework and merely is attempting to endear herself to Donor Alliance, which descends on families in hospitals, emergency rooms and accident sites to coerce, pressure and intimidate them into giving up organs of loved ones for money!
In discussing these issues with some coroners within Colorado, I have been told they resent Donor Alliance staff intrusions into their daily work activities. They all said they do everything they can to facilitate organ donation within the laws of this state. Why would a candidate for coroner of Eagle County try to make an issue out of an non-issue just to denigrate another person?
Robert F. Hickey
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