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Organ Donation via Presumed Consent

Discussion in 'All-Star Threads' started by Frebis, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Denver

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    Considering that outside of economics, acting selfishly is generally considered "wrong" and acting altruistically is generally considered "right," I found the terms to be relevant enough to the discussion. And I don't particularly get off on calling you out, because I get annoying semantic arguments about every particular word choice I made. That having been said, you indeed never said you thought you were doing the right thing, and applauded those who do donate. My mistake.

    Beyond that, I don't understand what trauma you and your entire family went through that the mere thought of a loved one's organs being used to help others evokes words like "pain, suffering, and horror" for the rest of their lives, but I wish you the very best.
     
  2. scootah

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    No. I'm aware of the term and I think it's a inaccurate and kind of stupid. Sin tax is the sensationalist term used to elicit an emotional response from opponents. It's part of typical opposition party agitprop and it makes it sound like morality policing instead of an economic policy.

    Businesses do the same thing all the time when they have demand above their capacity - and it's not a sin tax then, it's just a way to regulate demand. Consultants all do it to find the price point where they get the most value of their limited resources - their time. It's best known in terms of luxury taxes on things that are bad for you because it's not a direct correlation to less smoking equals more profit for the country - and it's implemented for taxing 'sins' because of moral influence or because of a view of the cost of health damage to the national interest.

    I think it's appropriate to increase it for interring a body in the ground because the consumption of that real estate is illogical and driven by either superstition or emotion - and I disagree with both the superstitious and emotional motivations and think their knock on effects onto land economics and particularly future land economics will become significant enough to make it worth discouraging.

    But that's a pretty fucking tangential discussion from the topic that the thread was actually started to talk about.
     
  3. scotchcrotch

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    The United States has no shortage of land, especially compared to the rest of the civilized world. So your whole point is as meaningless as stating economics of the private and public sector are similar.
     
  4. Volo

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    I'd feel that way if someone like Larry Hagman got any of my shit.
     
  5. NurseNikki

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    Organ donation is a minefield, from whatever side you look at it.

    As a mother, I have lived through the unimaginable pain of losing two children. Thankfully, I was spared the awful, gut wrenching decision of organ donation, because my son and daughter were not candidates. Honestly, 13 years down the track and I still can't imagine what my decision would have been.

    As a nurse, I work in ICU, where we deal with the issue of organ donation on a very regular basis. We care for the sickest of patients, on life support, where most potential organ donations evolve from. Watching the pain that family members go through in making this decision is easily the hardest part of my job. I think what a lot of people fail to take into account, is the shock that surviving family members are suffering. Most patients that are suitable candidates (and there are very strict criteria) arise from sudden illnesses, like brain bleeds, that leave the patient brain dead, but alive, thus with viable organs. The very nature of this means that families are unprepared for the death of a loved one, to say nothing about the decision to donate organs.

    It's hard enough to explain to a grieving family that the patient is not going to wake up or get better. But try explaining that to a family who is sitting next to someone who is still breathing, who's heart is still beating.

    It's very hard for someone to give consent for organ donation when the hand they are holding is still warm.

    Having also cared for patients that are dying as they wait for an organ to become available, I know the flip side all too well.

    Anyone who wishes to be an organ donor should have their wishes respected.

    Education and a legally binding consent for donation are what will change things. Not opt in legislation.
     
  6. The Village Idiot

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    I think I'll make this my last response in this thread as I have destroyed way more pixels than is healthy or necessary.

    Ok, first, I'll start with the focus of this thread. The article quotes a citizen saying that there aren't enough organ donors, therefore, we should - through legislation - change the 'default.' Are we agreed on the initial focus? If so, my responses are geared towards that premise, and that premise only - unless otherwise stated (I did go on about smoking, cell phone, and seatbelt laws).

    My original point still stands. Theoretically, the current law in Canada (and I'm guessing here) is that there is no current legislation that sets a default of 'opting in' which would require people to 'opt out' if they didn't want to donate. In other words, any legislation - which I'm guessing doesn't exist in Canada - has the 'default' set at 'opt out.' Since the person quoted, an attorney in Canada, is advocating for a new law, I'm going to guess no such law exists - or to the extent that it exists, it merely recognizes that everyone has a right to donate or not donate their organs, but that the state will NOT presume consent to do so. Now, here's the thing about 'presumed consent.' It's antithetical to the concept of consent. Let me put it another way. From a legislation standpoint, let's say the US had a law that said 'you have a right NOT to be murdered.' Is it legislation? Sure, but it merely codifies rights you already have via other sources. It's merely a restatement, nothing else.

    Now, turning to the current debate, and my point above: apparently there ISN'T legislation regarding the status of a donor in Canada right now. If there were, this legislation would be duplicative, or if the current legislation sets the default as 'opt out' then the appropriate remedy would be amend the existing law, or repeal it entirely and pass the proposed legislation. Hence, there is no legislation on this current issue.

    Now I'll turn to your red-herring argument, which I will summarize as follows:

    "I am not allowed to sell my organs, therefore, there is legislation regarding my organs, and it is permissible to legislate my donation status."

    If we want to take your argument further, we could say 'there is legislation prohibiting the damaging of organs of another (assault, murder, mayhem, etc.) and therefore legislating my donor status is permissible.

    A final clarification: we went down this road because Crazy Wolf made a claim that the US government owned our bodies. My gargantuan post responding is in the context of US law, not Canadian (before Captain Obvious shows up to point out we're talking about Canada).

    Therefore, according to your theory, once the government regulates the sale of something, they may then regulate any other aspect of that something - without further justification.

    Now, I'll refute that premise with the following:

    Sex.

    Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week, tip your bartenders!

    To expand further: under your theory, since a woman (and men, too, it's just really hard for me, er, men in general to find women to buy their penis) can't sell her body for sexual gratification, it would be permissible for the government to just go ahead and change the default on her donation status. She'd just have to 'opt out' of donating her sex. The opt-in, or 'presumed consent' status would mean she's willing to donate her body for sex, unless she stated otherwise.

    I'll let you ask the ladies how they'd feel about that little ol' 'change of default.'

    Your response will be 'but that's while she's alive.' Yes, you are correct, which brings me to the next red herring that won't seem to die.

    "But your dead, you have no rights."

    Yes, but when the election is made by you, you're alive, aren't you? Just because you're at the DMV, and wishing you were dead, doesn't make the election BY YOU null and void.

    Now, people were all over Crown for talking about worldly possessions and Wills, but he raises a fair point. In the US, we have the concepts of private property and ownership of our bodies. While the final transfer of either of those objects, our bodies or our property, occurs when we're dead, it does not nullify the fact that we have the choice over the disposition of either during our lives. Let's put it this way:

    Let's say a family member passed, and that family member told you that he fully intended to have you be the recipient of all of his/her property. In the meantime, the law changed and said that 'unless specifically stated otherwise all property passes to the United States.' In the US, this is referred to as escheat, and is frowned upon because of the recognition that people generally would dispose of their property by giving it to their spouse, their children, etc. And in fact, that's how the law generally works here. The 'default' isn't 'your property is fair game because you're dead.' And doesn't there seem to be something really distasteful about creating a default of that nature? Doesn't it offend the notion of intent? I can tell you it does, because I litigate issues such as these on a daily basis. I have been involved in litigation over remains, the disposition thereof, and the like. And in most post-mortem litigation, the standard is 'what did the deceased intend to happen during their life, upon their death?'

    Yet somehow, it's ok under a theory of 'greater good' to set such a default over our bodies, which are more precious than worldly possessions? I think not. If someone wants to donate, they can affirmatively state so, don't force me into being a donor unless I state otherwise, because let's take one last step:

    The "greater good" argument works just as well for worldly possessions. I'm sure the money and objects your parents and grandparents accumulated during a lifetime could be put to much better use through distribution to those who are more in need than yourself.

    Or to put it another way: From each according to ability, to each according to need. The foregoing is a paraphrase of the main tenet of Marxism (a strain of Socialism). So in general, if you feel that such defaults should be the order of the day, maybe the solution isn't telling those of us that want to retain our choices to leave (this is not directed at anyone in particular by the way) maybe the solution is those who believe that 'the greater good' should trump individual intent go live in a place where that is the erstwhile guiding principle. China, Cuba, North Korea, and a couple other countries are all socialist and would probably love to have another citizen that would sacrifice for the 'greater good' of all despite what their intent is.

    Ok, I enjoyed this thread very much, but I'm out (this is not to say don't respond/quote the foregoing, I'm not trying to get the last word - what it is saying is my responses will probably be via PM).

    Lots of good stuff in this thread from lots of posters, I enjoyed it immensely.
     
  7. Currer Bell

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    It occurs to me that maybe the disconnect (in people's heads about the idea of their loved one being "cut up") has to do with one's exposure to death in general? If you've never seen a dead body, worked a crime scene, witnessed an autopsy, etc, then it may be much more difficult to perceive the body as being nothing more than a shell. Especially autopsies, which are performed (in my state) when cause of death isn't immediately known - the trauma that does to the corpse is light years above what is cut out for organ donation.
     
  8. Dcc001

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    I think this is an excellent point. It's fairly common in North America to never see a dead body. Cremation is common, and secular families often opt for a 'Celebration of [dead one's] Life," rather than a full-on funeral. We're pretty far removed from death, so it's easy to talk about it in absolutes and come up with 'obvious' decisions.

    When you see a loved one stretched out, dead, in front of you with no embalming, the machines having just been shut off, you have a different appreciation for signing away their organs.
     
  9. scootah

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    I'm an asperger's kid - so I'm clearly in no position to apprieciate the trauma of seeing a dead person the way normal people see it - because really? Apart from the smell once people start to decay - meh.

    But in terms of any discussion about a change to legislation, I think the emotional state of families is largely irrelevant to the discussion. There's a reason why we use independent bodies to make emotionally loaded decisions. There's a reason why a board of people unrelated to the donor recipients decides who gets organs first. There's a reason why Juries aren't made up of friends and family. There's a reason why responsible CEO's recuse themselves from decisions involving family or loved ones in the work place.

    The fact that individuals can't emotionally disconnect yourself from a situation and make a rational decision should never be a factor in how legislation should be written. Unless the legislation is being written to protect the broader population from the irrationality of the individuals affected.

    I'm honestly not even sure that I can really reconcile how you could ethically allow it to negatively influence a decision that will potentially save more then 50 lives in the case of each donor. But that's a much more personal question then should the inability to emotionally disconnect from the idea of a body as a whole rather then a collection of parts influence your view of organ donation legislative changes.
     
  10. LessTalk MoreStab

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    People should be able to refuse organ donation. However should a person take this path they should automatically be denied access to the States supply’s of blood and organs should they one day require them. Fairs fair.

    The default position should be that all of a cadavers good bits can be harvested if required. In order to change this default position documentation would need to be lodged outlining and confirming an individual’s acceptance of the above.

    The fact that people are dying while life saving organs rot in the dirt is beyond fucking stupid.
     
  11. Porkins

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    But where would that stop? If everything was strictly a utilitarian decision revolving around social good, our society would look completely different. And while it's easy in the context of this one discussion to propose an unbiased 3rd party as an arbiter of donation choices, implementing such a system in the real world would have widespread ramifications that we haven't accounted for in our narrow focus.

    Moreover, a lot of decisions about organ donation aren't simply whether or not to give away the organs, they're more like "Should we pull the plug on our family member and donate his organs or keep him on life support?". And could you really take a decision like that out of the hands of the next-of-kin?
     
  12. scootah

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    This is kind of a first year ethics and philosophy debate - and since ceteris paribus isn't a valid argument winner on the intarwebs - it's even less likely to get a happy consensus. The idea that decisions be made rationally has a hell of slippery slope fallacy between it and the 'Euthanize people with useful organs' - Hell, it's a long slide from the idea that we're really sentimental about the collection of parts that once held a sentient consciousness and maybe being sentimental about a lump of meat that you had dinner with last week is a poor reason to lean one way or the other about a legislative change, to 'Euthanize people with useful organs'.

    I'm not really sure why I'm still having this conversation when Cloning makes so much more sense anyway.
     
  13. Crazy Wolf

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    Clone maintenance and storage could be a hassle. Sorta like making twice the food that you need and putting half in a fridge until you're hungry. Sure, it's made just the way you like it, but it's more of a hassle than going "Hey, you gonna be needing that?" to someone who's left some on their plate after they're done.
     
  14. jamaicaphooey

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    Eh. Not for it.

    To me, this seems like such an ass-backward way of the government giving the okay to harvest organs from people without really asking permission, and that is entirely too much of a slippery slope to be playing on.

    Why don't people just consent to organ donation? Personally speaking, I used to be creeped out by the thought of any of my body parts living beyond my life, but now that I'm a grown up and see the logical side of it, what do I care if it happens? I'll be dead. It's also hard to make the religious argument, because if you look at religious concerns regarding organ donation, most religions are in favor or have no official opinion on donation. Honestly, the better option would be to include that line of questioning more often (read: start including it) during routine / annual doctor's visits. The only real tricky part of that would be for children, but that's probably best left to the parent anyway. Make the questioning of organ donation more proactive, and that would probably increase donation, period. Otherwise, with the way most health care systems of the world are evolving, putting our governments in that much control over our life, health, death and possession after death seems to be a little too Logan's Run to me.

    In a perfect world, sure, but we are far from that.
     
  15. scootah

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    Toyota doesn't make a car door until they need it. Apple doesn't manufacture overpriced shit until someone's put an order in for stock. Phizer manufactures artifical erections for old people on a just in time basis. I'm pretty sure we could organize some kind of Just In Time manufacturing deal for human cloning if we treated it as a viable medical path forward.