Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Eye for an eye

I don't customarily give much thought to organ donation. I signed over my organs via the little signature box on my driver's license, I'm proud to say, not that anyone would probably want them (no seriously, I really don't think that I am even eligible to give blood now that I have had a cancer diagnosis). And I in no way buy into that rubbish about doctors in emergency rooms putting less effort into saving those who have signed their organ donor cards (because theoretically, their deaths can save more lives...).

But that's about the extent of it....until I read these letters to the editor of the New York Times Science Section. The third letter down, the one from David J. Undis of Nashville, really made me stop and think. "About 70 percent of organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven't agreed to donate their own organs when they die," he writes.

Jeeeez. That just seems wrong.

Mr. Undis, who is the executive director of LifeSharers, a network of organ donors, suggests prioritizing organ donors when deciding whom to give desperately needed donor organs. This idea totally appealed to the child in me...if you won't share, I won't share with you...if you want me to share, then you have to share first....that sort of thing. It also echoes the "golden rule": treat others as you would have them treat you. But with a twist: if you DON'T, then they won't either.

In my opinion, a more sound idea is presented by Lisa Badner of Brooklyn (fourth letter down): presumed consent. Under presumed consent, everyone is an organ donor in the absence of explicit instructions to the contrary.

This just makes good sense. Why hold onto your organs when you're dead? You can't take them with you.

I wonder if my blog-friend, Claudette, who writes, He's Dead, Jim would like to weigh in on this....Claudette?



Julie said...

Well, I'll weigh in... organ donation is something I've always had on my driver's license but it wasn't until this past year when this surgery loomed over my head that I learned organ donation isn't the same thing as whole body donation... if it weren't for people who donated their bodies (knowingly or not), my husband wouldn't have been able to have his ACL transplant and I would be sitting here with expanders in my chest, my butt as my boobs or a big ass huge scar running down the sides of my back from a lat flap. I'm so grateful to whomever I have in my body whether they wanted to be there or not.

yoga chickie said...

all the more reason why "presumed consent" makes sense. how many people even REALIZE what kind of good they can do with their bodies after they have LEFT their bodies behind?

Jody said...

Im agree with the presumed consent idea, that way the whole"prioritization" thing can be avoided. It just seems to me once there is reason tor discriminate based on 'anything' its usually abused. although I cant even donate blood due to my preference, no matter that a lifelong smoker or drinker free to do as they will.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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