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What do members feel about proposals to change human organ donation from an opt in to an opt out process?
Medicine is based on the principle of patients giving informed consent. This is where any procedures are carefully and fully explained to the subject who then considers the information given and after confirming that they have understood it give written consent for the procedure/s to be carried out. Organ donation at the moment is no different; potential donors are given information about the process and volunteer/give consent 'up front' for their organs to be used. The new proposed system would seem to be counter to this basic principle in that an individual's organs will be used unless they have given specific instructions to the contrary. It seems quite likely that many people would, if the scheme were implemented, have their organs removed and used without ever having been informed about the procedures let alone given consent.
asked in organ donation, medicine, consent



wumpus answers:

I think it stinks, and I question the motives behind the move.

I suspect that there may well be a considerable lump of money in it for the government, selling organs abroad.

And I would not trust the organisations concerned to trouble themselves too hard to find an opt-out form.


Supplement from 09/18/2008 08:04am:

I also think it's interesting to note that the forms to "opt-out" aren't that easy to come by, but you can pick organ donor cards up anywhere.


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beeper_spryte answers:

there are a lot of people who get buried/cremated with their organs who would have undoubtedly given consent to have them used but probably never got around to it or just didn't want to discuss such a morbid topic with their loved ones.

opt-out rather than opt-in means that those who definitely DON'T want to donate will do something about it; the reverse cannot be said to be true because people aren't "losing" something by forgetting to opt-in.

just think of how many lives can be saved or made immeasurably better...

i've always been very specific on my donor card - you can have anything you like EXCEPT my eyes.




In the UK between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008:

* 3,235 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 1,665 donors.
* 911 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney, liver/pancreas, heart/kidney or liver/kidney/pancreas transplant.
* A total of 2,324 patients received a kidney, pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
* A further 2,489 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant.
* A record number of donors were living donors, 851 people donated a kidney or a segment of their liver or lung, representing more than half of all donors.
* The highest number of non-heartbeating donor transplants took place- 429 transplants, a 36% increase on 2006-2007.
* Living donor kidney transplants are increasing - 589 in 2005-2006, 690 in 2006-2007 and 829 in 2007-2008 and now represent more than one in three of all kidney transplants.
* At the end of March 2008, 7,655 patients were listed as actively waiting for a transplant.
* Almost a million more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, bringing the total at 31 March 2008 to 15,140,826.


https://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/statistics/statistics.jsp


i'm all for it.


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agentju90 answers:

i'd be quite happy for my organs tto be used after my death. after all what good are they to anyone just rotting away in the ground ot burnt to ashes. if people feel strongly then they will opt out. i don't care who gets my organs or how much they are sold for aslong as a life can be saved. or several lives.


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rasputin1309 answers:

Outrageous - I carry a donor card but will opt out if this system comes in. Our bodies are sacrosanct - not the property of the state. To increase organ harvesting is simple - make it law that doctors have to request the use of organs from relatives if a person is not on the donor register.


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goth-girl1 answers:

i can not write the exact words here about what i think or they would delete my post
but i have already written the letter stating that i wan't to opt out and i feel that strongly about it i have given all my family a copy of the letter and given a copy to my solicitor to keep just incase they take them any way

and does this actually mean that they will not have to ask the next of kin after a death then


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imfeduptoo answers:

If I choose to donate my organs after my death I will but I'm against an opt out system.
There may be religious or emotional reasons why someone would not want to donate organs and I believe no-one has a right to assume that because someone hasn't opted out that they have opted in.
If I decided to opt out and dropped dead on my way to register my decision I would be very annoyed if my organs were taken bcause of this assumption.


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siasl74 answers:

I asked similar a while ago - I prefer "opt-out" methods, but it would have to be done carefully
http://iq.lycos.co.uk/qa/show/53103/Would+you+prefer+to+opt+in%2C+or+opt+out%3F/


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CGA answers:

I am all for it - providing there are sufficient safeguards to ensure that it is not too complex to opt-out and that the opt-out is reliable.
Unfortunately, I am old and falling to pieces so I doubt that any of my organs would be any use but, if they were, I could think of no better final wish than to give somebody else an increased quality of life. I also would not care if that person was in Britain or Timbuktu.
Yes, not every feels the same and their views need to be respected but this is designed to overcome inertia, not genuine objections.


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Family.Guy answers:

I for one will opt out. I will not be told that i have to give my organs when i die.


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KentPDG answers:

Some years ago, I read a very interesting SF book built around the premise that people convicted of capital crimes would be isolated on an island. They were prevented from escaping, but othewise had a comfortable, well-nourished life. Then, whenever some "good" citizen needed a transplant, and a prisoner provided a suitable tissue match, that part would be taken for transplant.

The prisoners would be taken without warning, out of sight of other prisoners, and would not be told what was going to be taken. If it was an arm or leg, eyes or a kidney, or some other survivable amputation, they would be carefully bandaged and returned to the general prisoner population, for healing and awaiting their next tissue match. Hence the prison population was a grotesque mix of amputees and handicapped. Eventually, nearly everyone would be chosen for a heart or lungs or liver or spinal column transplant, and they would just diaappear.

An argument can be made for such a system, if one accepts the concept of capital punishment for certain crimes. Yet even though the killing would be humane, under anesthesia, some people might feel this would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Others would say that the criminals would be doing some good for society, before their eventual demise.

The thrust of the story, however, was that such a system is highly prone to abuse -- engineering phony convictions for political opponents or critics of the government, for example; or convicting people improperly, just to build up the inventory of tissue types and harvestable organs.

I generally agree with Spryte, that a system which facilitates obtaining healthy organs, without delay after death, would be a benefit to society. Each year, tens of thousands of people die prematurely and unnecessarily because no donor can be found for a needed organ transplant.

However, an opt-out system has many potentials for abuse. The simplest is just to destroy a person's opt-out card or bracelet, or to obliterate or destroy their opt-out tattoo. When some people's organs can be taken right after death, without any overt act of agreement, then unscrupulous people will find ways to take anyone's organs after death -- regardless of prior overt denials.

Emotionally, I have no problem with organ donation. As far as I am concerned, a dead person's body is no more than a piece of meat. I can think of no good reason to preserve it, intact or dismembered. The idea of gathering around a carefully prepared corpse, so that the living can view it "looking so natural" so they can "remember" the deceased seems to me ghoulish. If you can't remember how grandpa looked all the time he was around, getting a last glimpse of his corpse is not going to enhance your memories of him.

We cut off our fingernails and our hair, and we do not mourn their loss. We do not try to preserve them. They are dead parts of our bodies, and we discard them without thinking or caring. When the entire person is dead, there is no possibility that person will ever again have use of the body nor anything it contains, just as we have no use for our fingernail clippings.

That being the case, where it is possible that someone else could see, or breathe, or rise from a bed and walk, or in any other way have a better life by having some part of an individual's carcass, then I am all in favor of it.

That said, people should have the right to deny that benefit to others, for their own bodies. Selfish, I think, and pointless; but nevertheless, their right. So I would cautiously agree with an opt-out system, but I think there would have to be elaborate safeguards to prevent abuses, to honor the wishes of those who wish to be left intact.


Supplement from 09/18/2008 06:32pm:

BTW, those who feel they want their bodies "perfectly preserved" after death, should become familiar with the indignities and mutilations that are part of a normal medical autopsy -- or even those violations of the body that are necessarily part of a routine embalming. There is nothing at all "natural" or "life-like" about an embalmed corpse.

During the 19th century, thousands of carefully embalmed Egyptian mummies were ground into powder (mainly in England), with the powder mixed into "medications". Thousands of other mummies, which were intended to be preserved for the ages, have been dissected for research purposes, or lie on display to be gaped at by the public, or sit in boxes on some laboratory shelf.

So even though those mummies (partial bodies only, stripped of eyes, brain, and all internal organs) have lasted for a few thousand years, their entombment was hardly "eternal". The most extreme types of modern embalming will preserve a corpse for perhaps a thousand years. Most embalmed bodies will disintegrate within a couple or three hundred years.

You don't deny that a person is dead, by trying to preserve the body. You don't make the world a better place, by denying continued use of organs transplanted to the living. In my view, donating one's organs, or the organs of a deceaased loved one, to the needy living is the most compassionate and generous act one can perform.


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fizzy.chicken answers:

i think the opt out is a good idea in fact i would go further and make it so if you opt out of donating organs then you opt out of receiving them if the need should ever arise. it's a sad fact there are so many saying they would not donate organs but I'm sure if they or a loved one needed one they would not be so quick to say no thank you.


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Bubs86 answers:

I actually agree with that. I am on the organ doner list myself. I think the majority of people who are not on it arent because they dont know how to or cant be bothered. If they change the rules, people wont bother taking themselves off the lis. It should also hopefully reduce the black market for buying organs on the internet, because there are more matches for people that actually need it!

But most of all I think the human race is becoming so selfish and if everybody made a little bit of effort to help somebody when they can the world would be a much nicer, more peaceful and friendly place to be!


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