The ethics of organ donation legislation.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by .Andy, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #1
    In Australia we have a compulsory opt-in system as far as organ donation goes. If one wishes to donate one's organs it has to be done in writing. Of course on the majority of occasions this doesn't get done/isn't done/isn't clear and organs that could be used go to waste. There's another level of complexity in that the next of kin may override an individuals opt-in wishes on any grounds. Combined with the very restricted medical circumstances in which organs are suitable for transplantation, a severe organ shortage results.

    I've often been interested in the idea of an opt-out system. In such a system everyone, irrespective of who they are, is on the organ donation list. If they object there's a routine, simple, and easy method in place to opt-out. This will of course greatly increase the number of people from whom organs can be sourced if they satisfy the necessary medical criteria.

    So I was interested in what you guys thought. What does your country/state/community do? What do you do? What are your thoughts on organ donation and ways in which the participation rates could be greatly increased? Is organ donation such a widely acceptable charitable act that the wish to donate organs could be an assumed unless otherwise indicated?
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #2
    I would object to such a system because it would mean that you no longer own your own body. Even if it was simple to opt-out, things happen, paperwork gets lost, accidents could occur before you had the time to think about it.

    At what age could you opt out? At what age could they use an organ/tissue?

    There are too many variables for a government to f*ck up on.

    The decision is a personal one, that should be decided individually.

    As for me, I am an organ donor, as well as a blood donor and bone marrow donor (if I ever match anyone)
     
  3. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #3
    The question is, does it really matter? You would be dead after all.
     
  4. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #4
    It does, actually. It's really the same thing as a Will. Why don't you want someone to decide what happens for themselves? Are we just organ farmers for others?
     
  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #5
    You know, I don't know what the rules for that are in the UK. I looked on my license and I don't see anything about organ donation, like I had on my California and Washington licences.

    I think an opt-in scheme is great. If it means so damn much to someone to keep their organs then they can take the time to opt-out. Otherwise don't let them go to waste.
     
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #6
    I think we need more education, rather than legislation.

    How many people do you know that are reluctant because they think some EMT will let them die in order to harvest their organs? Imagine if organ donation was automatic - that myth would never die.
     
  7. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #7
    I guess the difference between a will and your organs is that in a will you're leaving something of value to those you chose to. When it comes to organ donation it's something of zero value to your relatives - unless they need an organ and are an immunological match, something that is highly unlikely.

    The question could just as easily be levelled another way. Why shouldn't we be a source of organs to save the lives of others? Is there a greater gift to a complete stranger?
     
  8. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #8
    Generally I would agree with that statement, but not this time. I know the depths of the "can't be bothered" attitude and if having a compulsory opt-in scheme can save lives, why not? Like I said, if it means so much to a person to keep their organs to themselves then they can take the time to opt-out.

    I seriously doubt an EMT or any other medical professional is going to let a person die for the sake of organs. If that happens, and I accept that it COULD happen, it's going to be very very rare. That is a stupid myth.
     
  9. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #9
    Not trying to debate organ donation, but I think legislation is a bad idea. What hasn't government screwed up that started with good intentions?

    What age can you opt-out?

    What age can they take organs/tissue if you meet the criteria?
     
  10. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #10
    Agreed, but stupid or not, I've come across a lot of people that believe it.
     
  11. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    Not really. Free will only applies to the living, since the person donating their organs is dead free will does not have any bearing on the situation.
     
  12. Beerfloat macrumors regular

    Beerfloat

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    #12
    My country has an opt-in system, where you have to specifically make it be known that your body is available for organ transplant and/or medical research. So I carry a card that identifies me as a potential donor, and my family is aware of my wish.

    However, I strongly feel that such a system is upside down. Being part of the donor pool should be the default, with the option of an easy opt-out (without any questions asked and no consequences on your position in the queue for receiving organs should you need them).

    The problem is that there are really only relatively few people who object to being a donor, but a fairly large group of people just don't deal with the issue, and in the current system those automatically become non-donors. We can't afford such carelessness any longer, considering that there are long waiting lists for many types of organ transplants. Which leads to needless loss of life and/or quality of life among those who are in need.
     
  13. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #13
    Not free will. A legal Will.

    And if that is the case, why don't we create legislation that mandates everyone be cremated to save space in cemeteries, unless they opt-out of course?
     
  14. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    Ah sorry my mistake.

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Although I think I would miss walking around the small graveyards in rural England. They really are very picturesque.

    Still, I guess they will stay put.
     
  15. Beerfloat macrumors regular

    Beerfloat

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    #15
    That's fine, but not too quickly because we need to scan those bodies for usable organs first. ;)
     
  16. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #16
    After they are all harvested from the farms the government has allowed us to maintain over the years, of course.

    Back to my previous points about the ages ... At what age does it start?
     
  17. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #17
    Over 16? Under 16 with parent/guardian permission?
     
  18. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #18
    At what ever age the organs become usable.
     
  19. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #19
    Ok.

    This was just curiosity ...
     
  20. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #20
    Then dare I say they are idiots, paranoid and selfish ones at that. I don't think a default opt-out scheme is appropriate under their terms. I am also more than sure they will take the time to opt out of an opt-in scheme, since they must have their top most organ stuck firmly up their southern most one. Explains the crappy mentality entirely though.

    Although not the same issue [as that is about saving space and organ donation is about saving lives], I'd be cool with that.
     
  21. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #21
    in Austria we have a _opt-out_ (you had a typo there) system that seems to work ok.. i don't remember any discussion about it in the population .. it seems to be generally accepted

    though the laws mentions that no organs can be used which inflict with the "piety of death" meaning no skin/eye/face transplants etc.

    don't like it: you have to be enter into a register or made your will clear through a legal representative

    and yes this law also applies to _all_ people who just happen to die in austria (even though it is avoided if possible to do so on non austrians)

    edit: the point is this: the majority of people don't care either way:
    in countries with opt in system few people sign up
    in countries with opt out system few people sign "out"

    also the opt-out does away with stuff like asking patients in their death bed if they had thought about organ donation .. which i find rather more troublesome (even though it works and helps to increase donor rates)
     
  22. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #22
    I think it should be opt out rather than opt in.

    Then I believe that when I'm dead I'm dead. If a bit of me can help someone else, what do I care, I'm dead.
     
  23. Beerfloat macrumors regular

    Beerfloat

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    #23
    Oh that's just a detail really isn't it? Open for discussion of course.

    Let's say at 16 you can opt-out by yourself, before that your parents/legal guardians can do it for you.
     
  24. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #24
    True, but I don't think the decision needs to be made for you unless you file paperwork saying otherwise. Maybe I've just had too much paperwork lost by the US Gov. to have any faith in that kind of opt-out system here.
     
  25. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #25
    As it stands the decision is made for you that you don't want to donate. Which is worse?
     

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