Craigslist…the UNOS of the future?

December 14, 2011

Craigslist is basically the classified ad section of the newspaper, but online. People use it to find everything from a cheap sofa for their first apartment, to locally harvested organic honey, to vintage 1950s aprons, to…um, companionship. Not the best way to find someone willing to donate a kidney – or so you would think.

But more frequently, people are turning to social media – Facebook, Twitter and even Craigslist, to find donor organs. And they are often successful.

Take, for instance, this story out of Florida of a woman who turned to Craigslist to find a donor.

The number of people needing an organ transplant far outstrips the number of donor organs available. Especially donor kidneys.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 90,000 Americans are waiting for kidneys. But last year, less than 17,000 kidney transplants were performed. About 10,000 came from deceased donors. About 6,000 came from living donors. What this adds up to is a long wait for a lot of patients and families.

So it’s no wonder that people are beating the electronic bushes for potential donors. Here in St. Louis,  Emily’s Kidney, a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter, was founded to help a young mother find a donor and to raise awareness of the need for organs. As of today, Emily hasn’t been quite as lucky as the Florida woman. You can check the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/emilys.kidney

As more people become comfortable with social media, perhaps instead of UNOS, we’ll have ENOS – the Electronic Network for Organ Sharing.

-Kathy Holleman

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Category: Organ donation, Transplant

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  1. I hope this is NOT the case as this can be ethically problematic. See my article: The Ethical Complexities of Online Organ Solicitation via Donor-Patient Websites: Avoiding the “Beauty Contest”

    Neidich EM, Neidich AB, Cooper JT, Bramstedt KA.

    Am J Transplant. 2011 Sep 22. online early

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