BDN Speaks with Miller About Crowdfunding for Health Care

Jessica Miller, a clinical bioethicist at Eastern Maine Medical Center and chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News article “Should the Internet pay for your health care? Maine kidney surgery raises ethical quandary.” A 24-year-old South Portland mother who used an online crowdfunding campaign to cover her kidney transplant raised nearly $50,000, eight times the amount sought, according to the article. Royles’ transplant surgery was delayed because the hospital was leery of federal regulations that prohibit individuals from profiting off the donation of an organ, the article states. Miller said online campaigns for medical care raise a unique set of issues. “The spaghetti supper draws on community relationships and community identity,” Miller said. “The GoFundMe, the Indigogo, the YouCaring [sites] draw on strangers. It’s almost like you have to fill in your own gaps. In your mind, what is a deserving patient? There’s no context,” Miller said, adding the gaps leave room for morally loaded judgements. “It rewards the perfect patient,” she said. “The cute child with cancer might be more likely to have their campaign funded than, say, a woman who has a campaign to obtain an abortion.”