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A growing enterprise

Dooley said that the Bowers-to-Chalson donation is among 58 transplant surgeries credited to Matchingdonors.com. He formed the nonprofit organization after his father died in 1996 waiting for an organ. Dooley said the first organ recipient through the site had surgery three years ago and now advocates for living-donor transplants.

Forty more surgeries are scheduled for the next few months.

Mary Ann Cutter, a bioethicist at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, said that the ethicists are exploring questions about Internet organ matches.

MatchingDonors.com warns in bold letters that selling organs is against the law, but there is no system to stop someone from offering organs for a price. Some people may skirt the law by receiving generous compensation for travel, time off or other expenses, Cutter said.

Some have also said it creates partiality, where someone possibly will donate based on age, gender, race or even the best-written story, rather than requirement.

Such concerns have led some hospitals to decline Internet-initiated transplants.

Dooley though said that most hospitals have accepted the ideas, critics, he said, are often won over by the success stories. He pointed to Dr. Francis Delmonico, the immediate past president of the federal organ-sharing network that traditionally manages the nation's organ supply.

Delmonico told People magazine that he would refer people to MatchingDonors.com, saying, "I believe genuinely that those guys are trying to do well by patients."

The United Network for Organ Sharing handles the national database for deceased and living organ donors and potential recipients. A number of factors determine wait time, from obvious ones such as the severity of an illness and time on the list to a person's location and size.

Dooley approved that some people have used the Internet site to try to sell organs, regardless of the warnings, but he said only about 40 people tried to use the Web site for that purpose out of the millions of hits on the site.

On the topic of favoritism, Dooley said that with any philanthropic act, "People want to be empowered with the ability to donate where they want to donate."

Bowers said he does not identify with why Chalson and his friends and family have made such a "big deal" of what he did, and he hopes more people will sign up on MatchingDonors.com.

He said, "I don't consider myself a special person. I work all day long and try to get home as quick as I can to see my family."

He believes, that is something that describes a good number of people capable of giving a kidney.

 

 

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