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Am J Bioeth. 2013;13(6):38-45. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2013.781703.

Toward a more stable blood supply: charitable incentives, donation rates, and the experience of September 11.

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Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH 44106, USA.


Although excess blood collection has characterized U.S. national disasters, most dramatically in the case of September 11, periodic shortages of blood have recurred for decades. In response, I propose a new model of medical philanthropy, one that specifically uses charitable contributions to health care as blood donation incentives. I explain how the surge in blood donations following 9/11 was both transient and disaster-specific, failing to foster a greater continuing commitment to donate blood. This underscores the importance of considering blood donation incentives. I defend charitable incentives as an alternative to financial incentives, which I contend would further extend neoliberal market values into health care. I explain my model's potential appeal to private foundations or public-private partnerships as a means for expanding both the pool of blood donors and the prosocial benefit of each act of blood donation. Finally I link my analysis to the empirical literature on blood donation incentives.

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