An Organ First for California

Bill pending in state senate would help good Samaritans donate tissue

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Apr 19, 2010  |  Updated 4:34 PM PDT
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Thousands of Californians are currently listed as waiting for kidney transplants -- and a new bill pending in California's senate might make it easier for them to find one.

A Living Donor Registry would be the first of its kind to help connect people with a spare kidney or two and people who need one.

Currently, you can only register as a donor in the case of your death. But the idea is that good Samaritans would sign up to offer organs or other tissue to those ailing out of the kindness of their heart (which, for the record, you probably shouldn't donate).

Kidneys are the biggest example, as apparently one can live a long and healthy life with only one.

No word on whether you get to go to the top of the list if the only one you have left ends up going bad.

One of the reasons that its difficult for living donors to volunteer organs is because of concerns of allowing a black market trade in human organs and tissue to develop, which are illegal to sell.

The bill, from Santa Clara, Calif. Senator Elaine Alquist, would also make post-humous donation easier to sign up for during the driver's license application process.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he supports the creation of a Living Donor Registry.

However the backing of billionaire Steve Jobs -- who received a liver transplant after setting up a dummy residence in Tennessee to get on a shorter waiting list -- is decidedly not reassuring.

Jackson West will let aging baby boomers have his organs over his dead body, but wants a chance to ruin his own first.

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