Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Organ and Body Donations
December 6, 2023 4:31 PM - Season 10, Episode 19 - Subscribe

This week... Henry Kissinger died at age 100. George Santos was expelled from the US House of Representatives for ethics violations. And Now: People On TV Talk About AI The Only Way They Know How (in terms of the Terminator movies). Main story: on organ and body donations, organs for medical use, and bodies for scientific use. Organ donations are wildly popular, with 42,000 yearly transplants, but with a waiting list of over 100,000 people, and with 17 people dying every day waiting for a transplant. Are there problems with the systems set up to handle organ and body donations and where they go? And could there be ways in which rich people manage to jump the line for a transplant? Hint: yes. On Youtube (32 minutes).

Extra: A link to a Youtube video of that clip, from a 2009 episode of the series One Tree Hill.

To register to be an organ donor, the show suggests going to To sign up to be a living kidney donor, try, but it wasn't working when I checked it.

F.37: "Truckem Oblongem," CYBERTRUCK
posted by JHarris (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thankfully Aus has a federal organ donor register. Personally, I think it should be opt-out, but understand that people have reservations.
posted by Marticus at 3:01 PM on December 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

This is fun to watch when a friend of mine is probably going to need a major organ transplant or two in 2024.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:37 PM on December 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

jenfullmoon, if you or your friend want to chat about the transplant experience (I'm 3.5 years post-transplant with a kidney, and between my dad and my sibling and myself, we've had four transplants between us), I'm happy to write or talk candidly. Really, I'd love to help if I can.
posted by mochapickle at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Thanks, I'll let you know when it gets that far if she wants to talk to someone. She's had tons of "oh, you have A, B, C, D, E, F, G....etc." things diagnosed as also wrong with her the last month and she reasonably deduces that they are heading towards "a heart transplant is the only option to do anything about it," since by now she's almost a medical professional despite not having any medical degrees after all of this crap her entire life. She complains they're afraid to tell her that's where it's going because of the whole lifetime of misdiagnosis, but god knows it's not the first time heart transplant has come up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:39 AM on December 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

I had been assuming I would leave my body to science because I have an unusual cancer and thought it could be useful. But I gotta much as I have no attachment to what happens to me after I'm finally pushing up daisies, this really gave me pause. I just...kind of can't handle the thought of some asshole bro-type making money off autopsies in Marriott conference rooms for creepy curious onlookers. I found that surprisingly upsetting, and the whole market for bones as well. I kind of knew about people buying bones from Tumblr, because that's frequently been discussed there, but now I'm really not certain I want to follow my original plans. I'm glad I watched it so I knew about it, but fuckin' yikes.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 2:20 PM on December 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

I wonder if your unusual cancer might mean you could try to make arrangements with a specific research center that studies it, as opposed to the regular catch-all "body to science" checkbox.
posted by nobody at 6:17 PM on December 9, 2023

I had a bone graft a few years back, and it was hilarious when I was trying to get the doc to explicitly say that yes, I was getting dead folk's bones put in me. He was very passively discussing all the different things that graft material could be made of, and it wasn't until I flat out told him that I was pro-bones that he relaxed and said 'oh okay, yeah that's exactly what you're getting'. I guess not everyone that goes to the orthodontist is a necromancy enthusiast...
posted by FatherDagon at 12:52 PM on December 11, 2023

Wait until you hear about fecal transplants. And now I'm going to stop.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:53 PM on December 11, 2023 [2 favorites]

I... after reading that I think I need a break from the internet for a couple of hours.
posted by JHarris at 2:05 PM on December 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

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