Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Whose organs are they, anyway?

Dr. Douglas Hanto, a transplant surgeon in Boston, wants to stop you from deciding who gets your organs when you die. Unless, of course, you decide to give them to the kind of people he approves.

At a meeting in Chicago earlier this month, Dr. Hanto suggested limiting directed donation. "Directed donation, except in the context of relatives or emotionally related friends, unfairly directs organs away from the neediest patients on the waiting list, and in the case of deceased donor organs, bypasses approved allocation policies and should not be permitted," said Hanto, who represented the American Society of Transplant Surgeons at the meeting. (See this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for more.)

If Dr. Hanto tried to stop people from deciding who got their charitable contributions (or who got their property when they died) most people would be outraged. It's even more outrageous to tell people they can't decide who will get their organs when they die.

Stopping people from deciding who will get their organs would also cause fewer people to donate their organs. That would mean more people would die waiting for transplants.

I want my organs to go to other organ donors. So do over 3,100 people who have joined LifeSharers. They're our organs, Dr. Hanto, and we'll decide who gets them.

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