Saturday, 18 May 2013

Commemorating Donors

If I understand this story correctly, it seems that over £10,000 is being spent on a stained glass window to commemorate organ donors (£6,800 from the Tayside NHS Board Endowment Fund, plus £3,500 from Revival). It's an interesting question whether this is money well spent, or whether it could be used to fund potentially life-saving (or improving) treatment.

I think a common immediate reaction would be that it's a 'waste' of NHS (and other) money that could have been spent more productively. But, who knows, perhaps such gestures will encourage more people to donate, if only by generating publicity? I'd be interested to know whether any empirical work had been done on such matters. I don't, however, think its justification depends entirely on these instrumental considerations though. Arguably, norms of gratitude and reciprocity may make it appropriate to do something to recognise the gift of donors.

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