Things you might find if you were to go to Craigslist right now: an ad for a runaway cat; unrelenting softcore porn in the politics section; several flea-bitten mattresses whose owners may or may not be dead. You might even find a few résumés of people pitching their “value-added risk management solutions to sophisiticated money managers” (but just the sophisticated ones).
Also on Craigslist: someone in need of a kidney transplant.
That’s right, a person claiming to represent a man in serious need of a kidney is asking Craigslisters to get tested for compatibility. The qualifications? You have to have O-positive blood, and be free and clear of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. If you’ve got the goods, then whoever this is will cover your medical expenses. The ad promises that “Through safe laparoscopic kidney donation, there is less pain, a 24-48 hour hospital stay followed by a two-week recovery period, rapid return to normal activities, and a completely normal life expectancy.”
All interested kidney donors should casually drop a line through Craigslist.
In case you’re unaware of the literature on organ transplantation, the poster’s got you covered. The ad provides links to the Mayo Clinic organ donation page, some YouTube instructional videos on kidney transplants, and interviews with transplant surgeons about the procedure.
Let it never be said that giving an Internet stranger a vital organ is not without its benefits. In the state of New York, kidney transplants can win you up to $10,000 in tax deductions if the transplant takes you out of work. Throw in a free popsicle and you have a deal, sir.
It’s not clear if this is some kooky gag or someone so desperate for a kidney that they smartly took advantage of Craigslisters’ atrophied sense of stranger danger (still waiting for comment from the poster). Even so, It’s hard not to wonder why requests for organs don’t show up on Craigslist more often. When last month 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan couldn’t get new lungs because of United Network for Organ Sharing’s absurdly bureaucratic procedure for passing around vital organs, her parents had to go to a judge to get her the help she needed. Seems harder than hopping on the Internet.
Correction: An earlier version of this post listed Sarah Murnaghan’s age as 12. She is 10 years old.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2013