It is important to make An Informed Decision before being an organ donor.
In this question and answer format (link above) Dr. Paul Byrne answers the questions that everyone needs to be aware of before signing the organ donor card.
What does it mean to make an informed decision before you become an organ donor?
Does a teenager between the ages of 16-18 understand what it means when they sign the donor card?
I submit to you the answer is no.
Teenagers are thrilled to be getting their driver’s license and when they approach the clerk she simply asks them, “Do you want to donate your organs after you die? If they say yes they are added to the Organ Registry.
- Are they giving informed consent to be cut open while their heart is still beating?
- Do they know they will be given anesthetics to keep them from jerking, moving and squirming on the operating table?
- Do they know that if they are truly dead their organs will be no good?
- Do they know they are not dead in the sense they “think” it means…”when you die?”
The concept death by neurological criteria is being challenged more and more by neurologists. Although many of them still agree with organ donation they want to drop the hoax that you are really dead. They want to make it acceptable to publicly and openly say, we take your organs when you are “almost dying”.
Why, because they know it is the truth.
Do your children know it is the truth?
There is a shocking article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics by two Bioethicists, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong from Duke University and Franklin Miller from the National Institutes of Health’s Department. The authors have gone so far as to write an opinion paper this past January in which they rationalize that death and total disability are morally indistinguishable.
In the paper they argue that harvesting organs from living disabled patients is not morally wrong.
In this rambling paper with total illogical reasoning they suggest, “there would be no incoherence in permitting vital organ donation from still living patients who are totally disabled.” (Go ahead read it or skim it you’ll get the point soon enough.)
In the aforementioned paper they opine that their critics might object to abandoning the “dead donor rule” and that by doing so would take us down the slippery slope to procuring vital organs from the mentally retarded or other groups of vulnerable individuals with disabilities.
Absolutely not, they write. “We can hold the line for vital organ donation by continuing to restrict it to those in a state of total (universal and irreversible) disability. It is only these donors who would not be harmed or wronged by vital organ donation, since all other donors have abilities to lose.”
FYI, the “dead-donor rule” refers to two accepted ‘ethical norms’ that governs the practice of organ harvesting before transplantation:
1) vital organs should be taken only from dead patients,
2) living patients should not be killed for or by organ procurement.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. (Click the comment chain above.)