Is it the ultimate expression of altruism or madness in its purest state? This is the doubt that arises in the presence of Good Samaritan donation, that is, a donation in which a living person decides of his or her own free will to deprive him- or herself of an organ (today, in fact, of a kidney) for the benefit of a stranger in need of one. The specificity of Good Samaritan donation consists precisely in the total unfamiliarity of the people involved: donor and recipient do not know one another and the donation is carried out through centres for organ transplants, university institutes or hospitals deemed suitable according to the law. For the advocates of this practice Good Samaritan donation is the incarnation of pure altruism, whereas for detractors it is a gesture too excessive to be authentic. It is legal in various countries. The first case of this kind in Italy, where Good Samaritan donation has been legal since 2010, involved a woman who donated one of her kidneys at a centre in Lombardy on 17 April last year. That the first Italian Good Samaritan should be a woman is not surprising: indeed global figures show that women constitute the majority of donors or of those who surrender an organ. This is a fact: the data cover different reasons for donation and the figures include, both legal donations (in Italy and abroad) and those on the black market.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 21, 2020
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