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Organ Donors - Presumed consent

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
http://news.scotsman.com/health/Orga...aul.4698622.jp

Britain is considering changing their organ donation laws to one of "presumed consent" for organ donation. Under the new system everyone would be on the organ donor list unless they "opt out".

I'm not sure what to think about this. While I understand the need to have more organ donors, this seems a bit drastic.

What do you think?
post #2 of 27
Many people do not truly think about it - I guess, IMO, yeah - it's a bit extreme....but it might just force people to think "do I want to be an organ donor".
post #3 of 27
I think its a great idea- surprisingly few people die in a way that allows their organs to be donated, and so many people die waiting for an organ transplant.
As long as it was easy for people to opt out, if they so desired, I can't see what the problem is.
post #4 of 27
That idea has been bandied about in Germany, too, because so few people sign up as organ donors. Like Natalie, I believe it would make people really think about becoming potential donors. Right now, there are a lot of people who like the idea of helping others, but have no idea how to register as an organ donor.
post #5 of 27
I hadn't thought about it until i heard a Radio 4 program where they explained how to sign up. I couldn't think of a good reason not to, so I did.
Transplants save lives

On saturday I heard the story of Hannah Pudsey, who had a heart transplant when she was 13. I found her story very affecting.
post #6 of 27
Here, they ask if you want to be a donor when you get your driver's license. They could just as easily change that to the "opt out" question. I don't see a problem with it.
post #7 of 27
I am so in favour of organ donation, and so against anyone making assumptions about my wishes/body, that I had to think a bit about it. But the prospect of increased availability of organs wins, provided that knowledge of the policy and how to opt out is inescapable. As long as those who don't want to participate have their choice respected -- pray God there are few, but, however many there are, they are entitled to the choice -- I'm fine with presumed consent.
post #8 of 27
Having a brother who is due to be tested for eligibility of a lung transplant next week, I have to say I am very much in favour of this. When my earthly body ceases functioning, then if there is anything that some poor living soul could use, they may have it. The current wait for a lung at this point in time is approximately one year - could be more.

We also can opt for organ donation through our driver's licenses but how many people make that effort? I know I never did. If they make it so that only those that do NOT want their organs used need to take action, I think that will put more organs out there available for use. That's a good thing IMO.
post #9 of 27
I would have no problem with this at all. There are a lot of people who would be an organ donor, but didn't fill out the form or whatever. If you really don't want to, you would be sure that you aren't an organ donor, but I think a lot aren't donors who would have been willing simply because they weren't asked.

I am an organ donor, BTW.
post #10 of 27
I have a friend who luckily got a donor kidney just about as his time was running out so I think the concept of presumed consent it is a good thing. It's on my driver's license that they can have whatever they can use from my body. I certainly won't need it wherever I am going.
post #11 of 27
I don't need my organs if I am dead so I am all for it, as long as people can opt out easily if they want.
post #12 of 27
There is a lot of money involved in the trade of untested black market organs.
They have become a health risk.
If presumed consent is what is need to protect future recipients then I am for it, as long as an individual has the option to opt out.
post #13 of 27
I was one who for personal beliefs gave the okay for my body to be used for educational purposes NOT organ donation and thus had to do some additional paperwork . I would not want the presumption done
post #14 of 27
I'm not sure about other states in the US, but here they often don't ask and just put you as a donor. I've only been asked once, DH's been asked twice, and I've heard several other people say they usually aren't asked. Not that anyone seems to mind. If they can use anything from me, good. I don't drink, smoke, and have never touched drugs - though the various medications I've taken and still take may make my kidneys and liver a bit useless.

Which should be the one reason they should ask. A person could have a medical condition that makes their organs unusable and would just waste the time of medical staff trying to collect them (before they can test and if they can't get medical info transfered to them soon enough).
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Which should be the one reason they should ask. A person could have a medical condition that makes their organs unusable and would just waste the time of medical staff trying to collect them (before they can test and if they can't get medical info transfered to them soon enough).
Interesting point...
I had not thought of that.
post #16 of 27
I'm uncomfortable with presumed consent, because it takes the decision-making away from the individual and his/her family. I think more can be done to make people aware of the need for donated organs. For example, the last time I went to renew my driver's license there was a box of donor stickers and a small sign next to the window. But nothing was said. I've been a donor and had a card or a sticker since I was in my 20's. But over all that time I've been renewing driver's licenses, I was never asked if I wanted to be a donor or encouraged to opt in to the program. If everyone going for a driver's license was made aware and encouraged I think there would be a much higher participation rate. Put the onus on the applicant to opt in, sort of like, "get with the program, bud."
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by icklemiss21 View Post
I don't need my organs if I am dead so I am all for it, as long as people can opt out easily if they want.
I don't have a problem with it, but I doubt anybody could use my organs after all my body has been through.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
I don't have a problem with it, but I doubt anybody could use my organs after all my body has been through.
You'd be surprised. Mom and I had been home from the hospital for about an hour after Dad passed away. He died from cancer and it was all through him, but they called to see if she wanted to donate his eyes. Of course she started crying and screaming and told them no. She regretted that the next day. She said she just wished they would have done it and not called her to ask.

I think it's a good idea AS LONG AS people are informed of their option to refuse. Here, I have to ask to have organ donor on my driver's license. If I don't bring it up, they won't. The way I look at it, I will have no use for them after I'm dead so if someone else can use them, that's great!
post #19 of 27
I don't see a problem with it- it has the potential to save a great number of lives. If those people who oppose it do not want their organs donated, they will have the option to opt out so as long as they have the option i see nothing wrong with it.

I'm an organ donor, I can't take my organs with me when I pass on, why not help others who might need them. Both my drivers lisence and my military dependant id say I'm an organ donor.
post #20 of 27
I'm all for this. My good friend passed away 7 years ago from needing a second heart transplant. I've been checking off that donor box since I was 16. And have always expressed to my parents that if I was to pass away, my organs need to be harvested and used.
post #21 of 27
I am for it-- so long as it doesn't end up like those cd-club scams or whatever. If people are informed of and given a real opportunity to opt out, then it's fine. If they're enrolling everyone and you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get out of it, not so good.

I'm an organ donor, I also donate blood when they'll let me (which hasn't been lately because of the archaic tattoo/piercing restrictions). It's hard for anyone who has seen someone they love / been themselves in the situation of depending on that kind of thing to not support that. As my mom says, 'they can have what's left of me' (after several major surgeries)

Your body is just an empty shell when you're gone, who cares what happens to it?
post #22 of 27
This thread reminds me of "organlegging" -- a crime of the far-distant 21st century (oh, wait, that's NOW!! already) in science-fiction writer Larry Niven's books. Just in case anyone's faintly interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organlegging

Amazing how often real life today imitates science fiction of years ago.
post #23 of 27
It reminds me of that old Monte Python movie (sorry, don't remember the name) where John Cleese knocks on an organ donor's door and announces "Come to get your liver."
post #24 of 27
My only problem with presumed consent is the possible trauma it could cause loved ones left behind. They could have strong feelings on the matter and their grief could be unnecessarily exacerbated by having the deceased "mutilated" (as they might see it). If they know the deceased gave explicit consent at least they would know is was what the deceased wanted.
post #25 of 27
My feeling is that often with our rushed lives, we generally tend to put off making the decision thinking we'll do it later but later doesn't come. By assuming a yes to organ transplant, then the folks that feel really strongly against it will be much more likely to take action to ensure their organs are not available. By an assumed yes, more organs will be available for those in need which is a wonderful thing IMO. I'm also assuming here that more people would be willing to donate than not which I sincerely hope is the case.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Which should be the one reason they should ask. A person could have a medical condition that makes their organs unusable and would just waste the time of medical staff trying to collect them (before they can test and if they can't get medical info transfered to them soon enough).

I'm sure pretty much everyone here knows I work in the operating room. We are a small hospital, and we don't do transplant surgery. However, I have done quite a few organ procurement procedures over the years with OPAM (Organ Procurement Agency of Michigan) now known as The Gift Of Life Agency of Michigan. There is always extensive testing done before any type of harvesting procedure is undertaken. The organs need to be free of disease, free from damage caused by medications, tested to assure that they are sufficiently perfused (good blood supply) and also the organs need to be matched to the recipient before they are harvested. There is an extremely small window of time between when a heart/lung, liver, pancreas, or kidney is harvested, and still be viable to be transplanted into the recipient. All of the testing must be done prior to the removal, to be certain that all of the transplant parameters are met.

By making the consent presumed, it bypasses the need to find family or next of kin, to authorize the consent to be tested. This can result in getting the testing done right away, and increase the viability of potential transplant organs. I, personally, am in favor of presumed consent. I think it makes great sense from the medical standpoint.
post #27 of 27
I'm all for it. I think a lot of people are in favour of organ donation but feel uncomfortable thinking about dying so don't do anything about it. Or else they just never get around to actually signing anything. It can also be very difficult for medical staff to have to approach grieving relatives about the prospect of organ donation. Presumed consent makes it easier. Provided there is publicity surrounding the scheme and everyone has the opportunity to opt out, I don't see any problem with it. I can't recall any statistics offhand, but when there have been surveys about organ donation, most people have been in favour. So a system of presumed consent makes more sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
My only problem with presumed consent is the possible trauma it could cause loved ones left behind. They could have strong feelings on the matter and their grief could be unnecessarily exacerbated by having the deceased "mutilated" (as they might see it). If they know the deceased gave explicit consent at least they would know is was what the deceased wanted.
But the flip side of that is that at present relatives can actually override instructions left by the deceased. If they do not want the deceased's organs to be donated, they tend not to be, even if the deceased was signed up to donate.
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