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Deaths Waiting List

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Organ Donors Put Their Heart Into It
Every time a person goes into the DMV to get their licensed renewed they are faced with a proposal: Do they or do they not wish to be registered as an organ donor? The only physical proof of registering is a tiny circular sticker labeled “Donor” that can so easily be scratched off, and so easily forgotten until the time comes. In the essay, “Death’s Waiting List”, Sally Satel argues that morality will not persevere through this world of self interest , so an incentive program needs to be instituted. At first glance, this essay draws the reader in with its heavily persuasive sentimentalism, but when readers take a closer look they will notice the substantial quantities of fallacies, the lack of sufficient evidence, and the poor consideration of counter-arguments.
In her essay, “Death’s Waiting List”, Sally Satel recommends incentives be given to those who donate their organs. She believes this would save many lives, because it would increase the number of organs available to be transplanted, and would enhance the donors’ quality of life due to the different enticing offers. These offers include direct payments, tax breaks, college scholarships for donees’ children, and deposits to their retirement accounts (Satel 129). Furthermore she attacks the federal government as the sole problem in the lack of donors (correct me if im wrong)
Immediately in the essay, Satel uses pathos to draw in the reader. The first two sentences of her essay read, “March was National Kidney Month. I did my part: I got a new one” (Satel 128). Satel’s bluntness with her situation sets a tone of sorrow and pity that entangles the audience into the roller coaster ride that is Sally Satel’s unfortunate health. Subsequently, in the essay she uses pathos wisely again when she examines the Institute of Medicine’s report “Organ Donation: Opportunities for Action”. Satel believes not enough is being recommended for donees in this report, and she let on that this report is not helping the cause but in way hindering it because they are not concerned enough about the people physically affected by the organ donation process (Satel 129). This causes a huge tug on the heart strings of readers and will in turn cause readers to want to get involved.
Not only does Satel use pathos well, she uses ethos equally as effective in the introduction of her essay to gain that ground of reliability. Instantly, Sally Satel discusses that she has been through the organ donation process, so this in turn convinces the reader that she is a credible source for this issue.
This strong point of reliability is counteracted with her first use of a fallacy presented in her essay. After further examination and analysis, the audience should realize Satel is on the receiving side of the situation rather than the giving side. Therefore, the appeal to authority is a fallacy that is present because readers rely on her knowledge purely because the credibility of which is given to Satel is taken out of context. Succeeding this is the European policy, which fundamentally entails that if you do not sign something to opt-out of donating organs, your organs will be donated at death (Satel 129). This is a reasonable example for what could be done to solve the insufficient amount of organs donated, but the use of this example brings about the bandwagon fallacy. Just because the opt-out policy is expedited in Europe, does not mean it will fill the void for an auspicious donor policy in the United States. Along with the preceding fallacies, Sally Satel presents the Ad Hominem fallacy. In the essay, she brings about the issue of the federal government’s involvement in the organ donation phenomenon. She blames the short supply of organs on the federal government. Instead of promoting her idea that incentives should be given, she attacks the federal government to divert the audience’s attention from the matter at hand. Satel efficiently supports this accusation when it reads, “The 1984 National Organ Transplantation Act makes it illegal for anyone to sell or acquire an organ for ‘valuable consideration’” (Satel 128). Despite the validity of this statement, it still brings about the Ad Hominem fallacy.
An additional weakness, aside from the overuse of fallacies in the essay, was the lack of tolerable evidence. Despite the few useful sources and citations, Satel overwhelmingly does not include where the evidence was derived from and often the information given is hypothetical. The first aspect to consider is her use of statistics. Satel initially quotes the United Network for Organ Sharing statistic that “70,000 Americans are waiting for kidneys”, and this is a reliably cited source, but she continues on to relinquish statistics that are not clarified to be coinciding with the same source (Satel 128). Subsequently in the essay, Satel writes, “In polls, only 30 percent to 40 percent of Americans says they have designated themselves as donors on their driver’s licenses or on state-run donor registries” (Satel 129). She yet again does not cite her source. Because Satel does not clarify where she obtained this information, the information cannot be concluded definite. Along with her lack of using citations for her evidence, Sally Satel also uses many hypothetical statistics. An example that catches the eye of the reader was when she wrote “perhaps 13,000 a year, possess organs healthy enough for transplanting” (Satel 129). The word perhaps is not a word of certainty, which leads to the conclusion that this number is a faux statistic. Not only does this essay contain statistics that are off the cuff, it also contains statistics and information from sources that can be considered impartial. The “Ethics committees of United Network for Organ Sharing, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, and the World Transplant Congress” are all biased sources used (Satel 129). A strength that can be found in this essay is the use of authorities from the topic of organ donation, but it is not enough to overcome the use of faux statistics. Besides the unreliable use of statistics and authorities, Satel ambiguously deals with counterarguments. The notion that the incentive program would be “treating the body as if it were ‘for sale’” was the first counterargument “dealt with” (Satel 129). Satel countercharges this by saying that since we already have markets for human sperm, eggs, and surrogate mothers, we already have succumbed to this idea (Satel 129). How is a non-invasive procedure like the example Satel gave comparable to a life-threatening procedure like an organ donating transplant? The next counterargument that Satel delivered was also executed inadequately. Many people are worried that the incentive program that Satel suggests would cause an exploitation of the poor. Satel stated that this program would not exploit the poor but “enhance their quality of life” (Satel 130). Yes, the donor would have an enhanced way of life in terms of their finances, but when it comes to their health, how would a donor have this aspect of their life enhanced? Furthermore isnt it an exploitation to the poor to offer the benefit of a financially healthy lifestyle for a body part. Satel did not consider the many repercussions that may happen.
In “Death’s Waiting List” by Sally Satel, the superb use of emotional appeal sparked the interest of the readers and drew them in., but this emotional appeal was not enough to make the argument strong. Satel’s inclusion of fallacies, insubstantial evidence, and her bypassing of counterarguments constituted this essay as weak.

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