Organ Donation

Many New Hampshire residents voluntarily check "yes" when asked about organ donations at the Division of Motor Vehicles — and at a rate higher than any other state in the Northeast.

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators says the state has the highest donor designation rate at 53.8 percent. The voluntary question is presented at all DMVs throughout the country.

On Thursday afternoon at the State House, Governor Maggie Hassan is joining the New England Organ Bank in presenting an award to the New Hampshire division.

Doug Kline via flickr Creative Commons /

As long as transplants have been medically possible, there have been horror stories about the black market organ trade. On today’s show, an anthropologist sheds the trappings of academia to take on, and even indict, illegal organ brokers.  

Then, Breaking Bad’s spin off Better Call Saul premiered last night to rave reviews from The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

We’ll speak with the man behind the character of sleaze bag lawyer Saul Goodman, actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Gift of Life via Facebook

This story was produced by WBUR in Boston. 

It all started one spring afternoon about 10 years ago. David Cavell, then a student at Tufts University, strolled past what looked like a campus blood drive. He saw a friend, stopped, agreed to run a Q-tip across the inside of his cheek, and moved on.

David Grove via flickr Creative Commons

In 1984 Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act to address the nation’s critical organ donation shortage and improve the organ matching and placement process. The act made it illegal for anyone to give or acquire an organ for material gain. Now, almost three decades later, the act is making headlines again but this time in response to the push to rescind a ruling by the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit. The court ruled that certain types of bone marrow donors could be compensated. Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to overturn the decision, arguing that bone-marrow is subject to the 1984 act and as such, may not be compensated.

Dr. Sally Satel is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine; she examines mental health policy as well as political trends. She wrote the article “Why It’s Okay To Pay Bone-Marrow Donors” for

Transplant Tourism

Jul 25, 2013
Meg Heckman

Organ and tissue transplantation is a rapidly-developing area of medicine, one that’s rich with the potential to save lives and fraught with tough policy questions. The demand for replacement organs far outweighs the supply, so many patients die waiting. Others are willing to take drastic steps -- like moving to another state or a foreign country -- to get the organs they need to survive. Producer Meg Heckman brings us the story of Jim McHugh, a man in dire need of a liver transplant, and how his move to Indiana from New England during a snowstorm proved to be incredibly fortuitous.