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A Letter From David Steinberg

Jon Ronson and the Harvard Conference
Jon Ronson and Channel Four spent thousands of dollars to attend a medical conference at Harvard University, where some of the greatest minds in American medicine debated the ethics of people donating organs to strangers. One of the main speakers was a doctor by the name of David Steinberg, whose whole opinion of stranger to stranger organ donations was reversed as a result of his contact with the Jesus Christians. Did any of that get a mention in Ronson's supposed documentary on the Jesus Christians ('Kidneys for Jesus')? No. Instead, Ronson took a quote related to the financial exploitation of donors in general by the medical profession and used it in such a way as to not only imply that it was saying that the Jesus Christians are living out a fantasy, but also to imply that David Steinberg himself agreed that we are living in a religious fantasy!

A recent letter from David Steinberg to Susan

Dear Susan:
Sorry I haven't written sooner but life has been hectic. I hope you are long recovered from surgery and feeling well.

I found our e-mail conversations last year extremely enlightening; before we communicated I was skeptical about whether someone should be permitted to donate a kidney to a stranger. As you know, your answers to my questions helped change my thinking on the matter. If you recall I told you I did work in medical ethics and, with your permission,discussed our conversations at an ethics conference at Harvard Medical School. [That was the conference filmed by Jon Ronson]

I have recently written an article about people donating kidneys to strangers and a significant portion of that article includes your answers to my questions (I had to edit and shorten the material because of space limitations).

An important American health policy magazine is likely to publish the article if I am able to make a few revisions they have requested. I will certainly send you a copy once it is finally accepted and there is a final draft.

I hope you will be pleased that our conversations may come to broader public attention and lead to more kidneys being donated.

Best wishes.

David (Steinberg)

What a shame that David Steinberg's thoughts did not receive fair coverage in Ronson's documentary!

See Also David Steinberg's article: A Medical Ethicist Changes His Mind About Altruistic Donors
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