A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

15 August 2008

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?

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At 5:03 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

here in australia we have it on our driver's licence. I have opted to donate everything they can use. but if one of my sons were to die in an accident, I'm still not sure I could offer up their organs.

maybe I would, really hope I'm never in a position to find out

At 12:15 p.m., Anonymous Lydia said...

Is CC Canadian Catholic? If my Doctor is still alive when I go I'm sure he'll have a good look as a 'medical mystery'. 30 years this month and my file still slips out of the plexi-holder outside the exam room! Just this year I have decided to be buried in my original town. Most in my age group are being cremated and scattered to the winds (or mantled), but when the gov is forced to exhume and examine the effects of radiation exposure I WANT TO BE THERE! They've already poopooed any study they don't like and labeled dissenters as kooks but that too will change. The Eternal Optimist, Lydia

At 2:34 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Perish the thought, but I think you'd prefer to know they made some poor bastard's life a little better on their exit, no?

Not sure entirely what you're getting at there?

What significance is in the fact that your file appears to be slippery?

What is there about your town that's cocomittant with radiation exposure?

As for wanting to be there, the thing about donating bits of you for transplant is that it's rather likely you wouldn't, eh?

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At 12:22 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Tell ya what, smorty. Next time you spam me you send me a hundred-dollar cheque and I'll write a review. Possibly one about companies that drop spam comments.

At 5:45 p.m., Anonymous Lydia said...

My file is thin, that's why it slips through. My Dr. can't figure out why I'm so healthy ... so far. I come from the 'Little Town That Radiates Friendliness' (an actual sign coming into town until the late '60's)where uranium is refined. I want some intact bodies available if they study generational exposure and its' effects. So for science I suppose? Otherwise, they could have at me!

At 10:51 a.m., Blogger Metro said...


Thanks for the clarification. And good health to you.

At 7:18 a.m., Blogger Pugs said...

I used to be a donor but changed my mind once I saw the movie "Body Parts". It was about a serial killer who donated his body to science and the people who got the parts started killing people after being possessed by his spirit. Like his arm that was transplanted onto someone else started trying to strangle people. I figure that although I am not a serial killer, my arm, if transplanted, may start masturbating the recipient uncontrollably. The horror...

At 12:53 p.m., Blogger Metro said...


Oh come on ... think of all the joy you could bring to some poor soul ...

"I can WANK! O thank you lord Jesus I can WANK!

Okay, so I can't stop, but it's still an improvent.

At 1:41 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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