A 37-year-old terminally ill woman will choose a transplant recipient for her donated kidney live on a Dutch reality TV show. Three potential transplant recipients will compete for the donor’s organ on the Big Donor Show. The donor will make her decision, according to the BBC, “based on the contestants’ history, profile, and conversation with their family and friends.” Viewers will register their choice by text message.
Network chairman Laurns Drillich defended the show by telling the BBC, “the chance for a kidney for the contestants is 33%, this is much higher than that for people on a waiting list.”
The production company, Endemol NV, is most widely known for the Big Brother television series. Endemol claims the purpose of the show is to bring attention to the scarcity of organ donors. Funny, I thought the purpose of production companies was to make money. I wonder what Endemol’s shareholders—most notably the family of Silvio Berlusconi—think of this supposed altruism.
Update Sunday, 3 June 2007 10:35AM CDT: Turns out this was an elaborate hoax. The “donor” was an actress but the contestants were actual end-stage renal disease patients who were in on the scam. Dutch Education Minister Ronald Plasterk said the show was a “fantastic stunt” and an “intelligent way to draw attention to the shortage of donor organs.” The show’s producers said they hoped the outrage over the show would turn into anger over the lack of donor organs. The lack of donor organs is an important issue that should be addressed. This is simply the wrong way to do it.