Thursday, August 06, 2009
Musings on donating part of your body:
Last week (Tues, 28 July), Kevin Drum had a post on paying people who donate kidneys
. He writes that "The idea, frankly, makes me very, very queasy," and I agree. While there are arguments in favor, as Kevin lists, the notion of violating body integrity for money bothers me.
On the other hand, I don't have any problem with people being paid to donate a renewable
body component. (Or nearly perpetually renewable such as eggs, which run out only after a long time.)
Like blood. Which is partly the reason for this post. I used to donate very occasionally and then stopped for no good reason. But some years ago, in reply to an appeal on the internet by a blogger, I got back into the habit and this week donated my 40th pint since then, which means 5 gallons for this decade.
I'm basically punting on the organ donation issue but putting this post up to encourage others to donate blood. Doesn't have to be manic. Hospitals or the Red Cross would be delighted with 2 donations a year (max is 6/yr). Consider it.
This is a $20 billion a year industry built on the backs of real people who have suffered severe economic hardship, not to mention the loss of a loved one.
We think that should a family make the supreme gift of love and life, the hospital should make sure the last thing that happens is that the donor’s family is billed for any final medical expenses. A few simple changes to the current system would increase dramatically the amount of cadaver organs donated.
If you live in a state that has adopted the 2006 Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, it is presumed that you are an organ donor until they can find evidence of a contrary position. This includes hooking you up to life support systems even if you have an Advanced Healthcare Directive that says otherwise. They can keep your body alive until they can talk to your family, to ask them for consent to harvest your organs, tissue and body parts.
Under this new Act, you have the right to refuse to participate in an organ harvesting procedure, but you must register your desire with a known organ registry. There is only one organ registry in operation that allows you to record your preferences, including allowing for the contingency that just compensation might become legal at some future date.
Check out www.DoNotTransplant.com to learn more about your rights under the law.
There is NO state that has "presumed consent" in America. The website is full of half-truths and uninformed opinions and seeks to sell items that it says you need to keep your organs. BS. Many people ARE concerned about donation. Get accurate information. Don't fall for this site.
If you have signed a consent form, then doctors that are advised of it, will attempt to keep organs healthy after brain death as there is a very limited time window for transplant.
If you do not want to donate organs, do not sign a consent form and inform your loved ones of your wishes. That's all you have to do.
Contact UNOS.org for accurate information.
More info:REVISED UNIFORM ANATOMICAL GIFT ACT
I wish Cargosquid would share with us those elements of our website that are "uninformed" and "half truths."
Here is what the experts say:
Joseph L Verheijde, Mohamed Y Rady and Joan L McGregor
The United States Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (2006): New challenges to balancing patient rights and physician responsibilities
Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2007, 2:19
"The Revised UAGA (2006) poses challenges to the Patient Self Determination Act (PSDA) embodied in advance health care directives and individual expression about the use of life support systems at the end-of-life. The challenges are predicated on the UAGA revising the default choice to presumption of donation intent and the use of life support systems to ensure medical suitability of organs for transplantation. The default choice trumps the expressed intent in an individual's advance health care directive to withhold and/or withdraw life support systems at the end-of-life. The Revised UAGA (2006) overrides advance directives on utilitarian grounds, which is a serious ethical challenge to society. The subtle progression of the Revised UAGA (2006) towards the presumption about how to dispose of one's organs at death can pave the way for an affirmative 'duty to donate'"
From the same authors:
Scope of the Revised UAGA (2006)
"If an individual has not made a document of gift during life, the Revised UAGA (2006) presumes the intent to donate organs....[I]f an individual prefers not to donate, this must be documented in a signed, explicit refusal."
DoNotTransplant.com offers a national donor registry for Americans who want an easy to use, single entry portal service, to record their desire not to participate in organ harvesting. By law, all Organ Procurement Organizations and Tissue Banks must search all known donor registries prior to the organ harvesting process.
Every American should support and respect an individual's right to say no to a procedure that they do not believe in. If people need to have a documented written, explicit refusal to avoid participation, that describes a defacto Opt Out system of organ harvesting.