Organ Donation--There's a Problem With That
I notice that Canada's paper of record has an article saying we're going to be creating some sort of national organ donation registry.
It's a sincere effort, but it's foolishness. For several reasons. But the main one is this: It will never be possible to sign up and keep track of every potential donor.
My home province used to take your name when you signed up for your driver's license (postadolescent men who are new drivers are an important source of future transplant organs). Now you have to register seperately as well. I guess the old system was too simple and easy.
I'd register, but I haven't gotten around to it. As I suspect about a third of the available potential donors in this province haven't. So you see the problem with requiring the potential donor to sign up.
Plus there's a motivation problem, especially in the instant-gratification world of today. I mean, it's not as if the life I save might be my own, right?
So here's an idea: Presumed consent.
That is, in the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, you (and I, and all Canadians) are a donor. Unless you have the "Don't take my organs" sticker on your license, you're a resource like everyone else.
Corneas, lungs, livers, hearts, spleens, miles of bowel, and other juicy bits would suddenly become massively available, saving 1200 lives a year.
Let me be clear--I'm talking about automatic donation of all transplant-viable organs after death. I'm not talking about this sort of thing ...
And those sufficiently motivated and/or selfish enough to want their organs to rot or burn with the rest of the carcass could say so.
But the body is only ours for a limited time, and we cannot take it with us. Why not leave some choice cuts behind for others to enjoy? And why should the body physical of the body politic not be a national resource?
Economically there'd be an inevitable boost from the surplus of donatable organs: The government could establish an exchange to donate transplantable organs for free, or at minimal cost, thus keeping the price on the open market low.
Oh, and there's already a thriving, growing market in international organ trade. It needs regulation rather badly.
(I see massive new possibilities in the greeting-cards industry with this, by the way)
My mother feels differently. She refuses to even consider the idea. I'm not sure why. It may be something to do with her faith, but I can't figure out why that would be.
We're Catholics by ancestry (she's a mix--CC and protestant). So we have no trouble with transfusions--else I'd have been dead at about fifteen, likely. Why not transplants?
I sometimes think she's worried about rising from her grave on the Day of Judgement and having to say "Oh--my corneas? Uh, someone's just borrowed them for a minute. My lungs too ..." Then of course there's the dreary business of wandering about Heaven bumping into things until the mix-up gets sorted.
Mum's very British--she'd find that most embarrassing.
Here's a question--will there be cigarettes in Heaven? How about booze? I mean, JC clearly favoured wine over water, for a start. Will there be slot machines that always jackpot on you? And how boring would THAT get after a while, eh?