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Ethical considerations in transplantation.

Volunteerism versus commercialism in the procurement of blood for transfusion was the subject of considerable debate a decade ago. Proponents of an altruistic system won the day on the basis of real or imagined risks of hepatitis resulting from the act of payment.

A vocal minority insisted
that the act of payment was irrelevant--the socioeconomic status of the prospective donor pool determined the risk. This argument fell on deaf ears, however. The other side prevailed with threats of litigation in the event that hepatitis ensued from transfusion of purchased blood. But that was not the only reason favoring volunteerism.

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