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The big donor show; Has Reality TV gone to far?

By Andree Toonk | June 2, 2007


the big donor showSome of you might have heard about the donor show, it was in the media here whole week, but also far outside of the Netherlands. A 37-year-old woman suffering from an inoperable brain tumor wants to donate a kidney before she dies and will choose the recipient from among three contestants on Dutch national television with the active participation of viewers. Lawmakers in the Dutch parliament have called for “The Big Donorshow” to be scrapped on ethical grounds, but the channel insists it and pressed ahead with the scheduled broadcast to highlight the serious lack of organ donors. Some people will think it’s tasteless, but the broadcasting stations BNN said that the reality is even more shocking and tasteless: Waiting for an organ is just like playing the lottery. An EU-wide survey showed that while 81 percent of European citizens support the use of organ donor cards, only 12 percent actually have one.

Yesterday evening the one and a half our long show was broadcasted. Over 80 camera teams from all over the world were present. At the end of the show the woman was ready to choose the winner of her kidney. Then the host of the show intervened. He explained that lady was an actress, not really sick and that she was not going to donate her kidney. The three contestants however, are patients who are in immediate need of a donor kidney. The show was meant to get more attention for the critical shortage in organ donations in the Netherlands. Currently there are about 1,500 people waiting for more than four years for a kidney. Something needs to be done! For those of you who missed the show, check this link.

Now one day after the show everybody is happy with this outcome. BNN got a lot of worldwide attention for the donor problem. Our Minister reacted that this was a very original way to get attention for the urgent problem. He of course was very happy that they were not really going to give a way a kidney. I personally think it was a great initiative. I just heard on the news that only yesterday evening around 30.000 people in the Netherlands requested a form, in order to become a donor! Well done BNN!

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