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Reasons for the Organ Shortage Crisis

Discuss About The Psychiatric Emergency Department On Nights.

The organ shortage crisis has deprived patients of a better quality of life and has caused a substantial rise in the cost alternative medical care i.e. dialysis. The following are some of the reasons why organ shortage exists:

There has been a stream of media reports that give people the impression of widespread malpractice by the medical fraternity and the funeral and biomedical industries. A number of reports on court hearings involving organ malpractices have soared in recent times making it hard for individuals to shun organ donation (Folland, Goodman & Stano, 2016).

Public awareness efforts have done little to improve donation rates in America and in other countries. This being the best and easiest option to raise the number of donors, little has been done in the area of public awareness.

The laws available are against allowing the market to function in order to get supplies to people. Where there is government interference and the suppliers are not allowed to sell to meet the demand then automatically shortages appear, this is what happens with the organ industry especially that of kidney (Smith et al, 2013).

The disincentive factor. This comes along with financial obstacles that result in loss of money for the donor including the loss of income while off work after the procedure. Potential future insurability issues and expenses may also not be covered by insurance after the procedure.

Figure 1: demand and supply of Organ

(Zweifel, Breyer & Kifmann, 2009)

(ii) (6 points): Suppose quantity demanded of organs (e.g. kidney) goes up with price. Can you think of a reason why demand for organs would defy the Law of demand? If organ was available in a free marketing, how would the shortage be reflected in a supply-demand framework, where demand for an organ is upward sloping? Explain using an appropriately labeled diagram.

The law of demand states that the quantity demanded for a good or service rises as the price falls, this law is an inverse relationship between price and quantity demanded. It is rare that these laws of demand is violated but there are extreme cases and can be difficult to prove but there are reasons as to why this law is defied.

This case happens if the high demand is for a quantity they cannot supply, that is, a capacity shortage. This case of organ shortage can make the demand go up as a few organs are being sought after by many individuals. In this case the numbers of people after organs should be high and the supply of organs should be small for this case to take apply (Blau, Ferber  & Winkler, 2013).

Price Elasticity and Free Market for Organs

In the case that the substitutes available i.e. dialysis are more expensive than transplants in the long run then demand for organs will keep on rising despite the increases in prices of these organs. If the rise in price is still below that of substitutes then such a scenario can take place where the law of demand is defied (Zweifel, Breyer & Kifmann, 2009).

In situations where there are no substitutes in the case of a disease then demand for organs can defy the law of demand, that is, the demand for organs will increase if the price increases. If substitutes are not available then options are limited and patients are subjected to one product which makes it possible for this law to be defied.

If organ was available in a free market, how would the shortage be reflected in a supply-demand framework, where demand for an organ is upward sloping?

Most consumers prefer to pay low prices for goods and services, this holds in the case where the law of demand is upheld. The demand curve on a graph in this case slopes downward and to the right to show a rise in the demand as prices decline.

This law of demand has loopholes where in a few cases the demand of a product increases with increase in prices, where the demand curve would slope upwards. There are two reasons as to why such a graph would have a demand curve that has an upward-sloping which are; conspicuous consumption and products known as giffen goods.

Figure 2: Price and demand

(Fuchs, 2011)

(iii) (2 points): Continuing with this hypothetical case (of a market for organs), do you expect the market demand curve for organs to be price elastic or price inelastic? What about the supply curves? Explain why. (Draw the supply and demand curves in part (ii) keeping in mind these elasticity)

The market demand curve for organs will be price elastic. In a free market, the law of demand and supply are allowed to operate freely. It is also characterized by many suppliers of organs and many buyers. Because there are many suppliers of the organs, the price of the organs will indirectly affect the demand, such that a supplier whose organs are expensive may face low demand. A price elastic demand is where the demand changes when the price fluctuates (Eggleston et al, 2008).

On the other hand, the supply curve would be price elastic also. The suppliers would sell more organs if the price goes up and will be willing to supply less if prices go down. Therefore, in a free market, which is also a perfect market, the demand and supply curve are price elastic.

The Need for a Regulated Market

Figure 3: Supply and demand

(de Bekker?Grob, Ryan & Gerard, 2012)“We should allow a market for human organs where purchase and sale of organs for transplant surgery can be conducted just like any other economic goods.” Do you agree or disagree? Justify your stance from an ethical point of view or an efficiency point of view.

Allowing a market for human organs where the purchase and the sale of organs for transplant can be conducted like any other good is important but with a regulated organ market. The need to have this regulated market in operation is important for the following reasons:

Legislation that favours this kind of market will be helpful in reducing the abuses of the black market for human organs (Magee & Hale, 2012). Legislations that have prohibited this market for a long time should be changed to favour this regulated market to reduce these kind of inhuman treatment of people in the hunt for organs.

These regulated markets will help sort out the problem of organ shortage, this way most of deaths that come as a result of organ crisis will be avoided by putting in place laws that allow for a regulated market.

The regulated market places will have-through legislation-standards that meet the medical tests. This will reduce the many cases of patients being implanted by infected organs which would otherwise lead to other ailments or organ dysfunctions.

The regulated markets will also do away with the black markets that deal with human organs which go against human rights and also do away with the moral commitments. These regulated markets will have all issues of moral aspect incorporated and codes of conduct within these markets kept at high standards (Kamat et al, 2014).

These regulated markets will allow for compensation to the donors, this is to cover for the reciprocating aspect that lacks in the current way of having donors sell or give out their organ for transplant.

Figure 4: Supply and demand curve

(Kung & Mrazek, 2005)

A Hypochondriac in the Grossman model: Hypochondria or ‘illness anxiety disorder’ is a psychosomatic condition that is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical condition. An individual suffering from hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness.

The Grossman Model and Hypochondria

a)(10 points): How would this affect her optimal level of health? Explain your answer in the light of the three roles that health plays in the model. Use appropriate diagrams to facilitate your explanation.

This model sees health in terms of capital and therefore investment in health increases the stock of health which gives utility and production opportunities. Therefore in this case the patient will invest more in health as he is scared that is condition is worse and therefore in the eyes of Grossman model the patient will invest a lot of money in health in order to improve his health as this model assumes that investment in health improves health in general (Feldstein, 2012).

Figure 5: Grossman model

(Eichler & Levine, 2009)

Depreciation rate is expected to increase with age and therefore this may push the patient to invest more in health as the optimal level of health decreases with time. If the patient increases his or her valuation of healthy days as they age then this partially offsets the predicted health stock decline.

b)(10 points): Now imagine this hypochondriac suddenly wins a mega jackpot lottery of $1 million, how does this exogenous income shock change decisions about her health status?

The patient is likely to increase his investments in health for better improvement as they are worried about their health more than normal and therefore this will have a consequence of improving their health as they increase their stocks of health through investment. In this model the individuals health is said to improve as there is an increase in the quantity of health inputs employed. This increase in income will result to the budget constraint shifting outwards and for this reason welfare increases.

Figure 6: Health economics

(Böckerman & Ilmakunnas, 2009)

The patient may also seek knowledge about technology of health production so as to assimilate information about health matters from the mass-media and their physician. This model suggests that when the state of technical knowledge changes then the position of the production function also changes.

This sudden change in an exogenous income may make the patient to have a judgement similar to that of a patient who sees a reduction in price of a unit of health inputs. This view can be represented by moving the budget line outwards from the intercept on the consumption axis (Wonderling, 2011). The assumption is that the individual did not devote all of his or her income to consumption before the price reduced; this means that the individual will put more health inputs to achieve better health.


“The emergency room is always busier on full moon nights”. There has been a reasonably widespread belief among medical professionals in the last decade that suicide rate rises with lunar phase.

The emergency room is always busier on full moon nights. Despite many scholars finding that there is no correlation between phases of the moon and increased visits to healthcare centers, others found that it really does exist. However, the extent at which emergency rooms are busy depend on so many factors both environmental, physiological and psychological factors. In a study involving patients undergoing primary and secondary care, it was found that the there was no any association between visits to the emergency rooms or healthcare settings and full moon (Kung & Mrazek, 2005). In another recent empirical study involving pediatric patients, no correlation was to found to exist between lunar cycle and patients visits (Kamat, Maniaci, Linares & Lozano, 2014).  Therefore, there are no authentic scientific evidence showing actual relationship between the full moon and health visits. In fact, most studies supporting this hypothesis are said to have statistical and design flaws (Kung & Mrazek, 2005).

If the claim is valid, explain why there might be a higher incidence of suicide on full moon. If not, what behavioural bias is responsible for such views? Explain.

It is believed that people like or are more willing to be outside during the full moon. The reason is that there is more light during the full moon than any other lunar face. The bias is therefore, in the human thinking. Many people associate their experience with astrological events. For example, some people may feel it worth to perform a lot of prayers during the full moon because they may believe that God is closer (Henderson, 2012). When such beliefs has been traditionally inculcated into others, then it becomes a culture. People who belief in a lunar effect develop a long-life behavior and will associate events with the phase of the moon. However, in many instances, such beliefs do not coincide with the actual event. For instance, someone may think that there is too much and the moon could be full. Only to realize that it is in another different phase (Caswell, 2012).

Another behavioral bias is that full moon affect the sleep pattern. There could be many factors that affect sleep and when evaluating such researches which find such a positive correlation, it is important to consider the health of individuals under investigation. Studies which find that sleep in children is affected by full moon usually find very little statistical significant relationship. In addition, the sample is usually small and fails to incorporate certain health factors (Bosman et al, 2010). However, the changes in the gravity during full moon can cause behavioral changes. But its impact is different across different people.  Therefore, behavioral bias that full moon affect sleep pattern and mythological-based behavior of human beings to belief in the lunar cycle have resulted into wrong conclusion on the relationship between full moon and hospital visits.

The “sleep patterns” is a behavioral bias used in explaining weight gain. There is a notion that people who sleep long enough tend to improve their weights. Many people especially those who feel that they have no weight have relied hugely on sleeping enough (8 hours). However, even though a change of sleep pattern may improve weight gain, it may also have negative health impacts (Mara et al, 2010). That is , sleeping patterns cannot also increase weight in a desired manner and may result into other health complications. Many people relying on sleeping may extend sleeping to daytimes, hence having very little time to exercise. Therefore, not all people who sleep enough experience weight gain since weight is a dependent variable that relies on many health issues.

  1. (8 points): What role does “present-bias” play in patients’ health-related (e.g. lifestyle) choices? Provide an example that has not been already discussed in class.

The “present-bias” changes the patient’s perception regarding illnesses, thereby affecting the effectiveness of a clinical therapeutic intervention. For example, the mythology of lack of sleep resulting from full moon can affect the wellness program design and implementation. As noted, patients with strong belief about the lunar may fail to go for clinical diagnosis to find the cause of sleeplessness (Rios, McConnell & Brue, 2013). The reason is that a patient may have very little knowledge of relationship between sleep and other health issues. Therefore, by ignoring to go for clinical diagnosis on the basis that lack of sleep is due to full moon, patient may suffer further complications. In such a case, the health care provider will have to prepare a unique patient-centered therapeutic program that incorporate such beliefs (Phelps, 2016). Such beliefs may delay treatment or recovery process. Also, the therapy has to include various confounding, mediating and moderate variable to explain weight gain relationship with sleep and educate patients on the same (Magee & Hale, 2012). 

In addition, such health bias may lead to poor health management strategies that patients exercise on their own. Many health management programs that people develop for themselves greatly rely on the nature of scientific evidence available (Kobelt, 2013). For instance, if people believe that full moon is associated with workload, they may fail to be objective in their health management.


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Bosman, F. T., Carneiro, F., Hruban, R. H., & Theise, N. D. (2010). WHO classification of tumours of the digestive system (No. Ed. 4). World Health Organization.

Caswell, J. A. (2012). Economics of food safety. Springer Science & Business Media.

de Bekker?Grob, E. W., Ryan, M., & Gerard, K. (2012). Discrete choice experiments in health economics: a review of the literature. Health economics, 21(2), 145-172.

Eggleston, K., Ling, L., Qingyue, M., Lindelow, M., & Wagstaff, A. (2008). Health service delivery in China: a literature review. Health economics, 17(2), 149-165.

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Fuchs, V. R. (2011). Who shall live?: health, economics and social choice. World Scientific.

Henderson, J. W. (2012). Health economics and policy (with economic applications). Cengage Learning.

Kamat, S., Maniaci, V., Linares, M. Y. R., & Lozano, J. M. (2014). Pediatric psychiatric emergency department visits during a full moon. Pediatric emergency care, 30(12), 875-878.

Kobelt, G. (2013). Health economics: an introduction to . Monographs.

Kung, S., & Mrazek, D. A. (2005). Psychiatric emergency department visits on full-moon nights. Psychiatric Services, 56(2), 221-a.

Magee, L., & Hale, L. (2012). Longitudinal associations between sleep duration and subsequent weight gain: a systematic review. Sleep medicine reviews,

Mara, D., Lane, J., Scott, B., & Trouba, D. (2010). Sanitation and health. PLoS medicine, 7(11), e1000363.

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Wonderling, D. (2011). Introduction to health economics. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

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