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EU-wide donor card proposed as reality show debate rages

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EU-wide donor card proposed as reality show debate rages

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Whether it is a matter of a heart, a lung or a liver, transplants save lives. Hence the idea of an EU-wide organ donor card. The proposition comes amid outrage at a Dutch TV show’s unconventional, some say unethical, way of tackling the problem. The proposed European card would cover all 27 member states.

Pushing the boundaries of reality TV, “The Big Donor Show,” due to be broadcast on Friday, will feature a terminally ill woman deciding which of three contestants should receive one of her kidneys. EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, the man behind the EU donor card plan, does not approve. He has said a sensitive and emotional issue of life and death was being used for commercial purposes.

However Laurens Drillich of broadcaster BNN television, whose founder died of kidney failure, is unrepentant. “It is a one-time show because we want to raise awareness,” he told reporters. “If we had made a beautiful documentary about people waiting for organs you would not have been here, nor would anyone else from the press be here. So we are doing this to attract attention and we are definitely attracting attention.” Tens of thousands of people are on EU waiting lists for a transplant. But while a survey shows most Europeans support organ donor cards, only 12 percent currently carry one.