Using American Idol to Choose Kidney Transplant Recipients?

Don’t laugh.   De Grote Donorshow was a real show that aired in the Netherlands that used an American Idol-style public voting system to determine who should be a worthy receipt of a kidney (see a YouTube video).  Or was it?

The program involved a supposedly terminally ill 37-year-old woman donating a kidney to one of twenty five people requiring a kidney transplantation. After a first selection, three people remained. Viewers were able to send advice on who they thought she should choose to give her kidney to via text messages. The profit made by the text messages was given to the Dutch Kidney Foundation. The program, due to its controversial nature, had received heavy international criticism in the run up to the broadcast.  In the end, it was revealed during the course of the show that the terminally ill woman was, in reality, an actress, although the three candidates were, in fact, real kidney patients; they were aware of the fact that Lisa was an actress, and participated because they were supportive of BNN’s cause to give awareness to the limited number of organ donors in the Netherlands

Although the initial reaction to the show was worldwide public outcry, a month after the show aired, 7,300 new donors were registered by the Dutch donor registration.


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