Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Presumed consent

In England, the Chief Medical Officer has recommended implementing an "opt-out" organ donation system. This is also known as presumed consent. Under this system, everybody is presumed to consent to the donation of their organs when they die. Anyone can fill out a form saying they don't want to donate.

If this system was implemented in the United States, the supply of organs for transplant operations would increase significantly. According to polls, about 90% of Americans support organ donation but only about 50% have bothered to register. If everybody was automatically registered, few people would bother to un-register.

Presumed consent can only be implemented in the United States through legislative action -- Congress would have to pass a law. The chances of this happening in the foreseeable future are somewhere between very slim and none, because there is wide-spread opposition to the idea of presumed consent.

This underlines the importance of the grass-roots approach of LifeSharers. You don't need Congressional action to join LifeSharers and donate your organs to other organ donors. When you donate your organs to other organ donors you create an incentive for non-donors to become donors, you make the transplant system fairer, and you increase your own chances of getting a transplant should you ever need one.

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Anonymous said...

I support organ donation and have signed up with my drivers license renewal. If the law in my state change to presumed consent I will remove myself from my state's donor list. The gift of life to another was a very personal thought out process. To presume and just take my organs goes against my very nature. I would rather my body be cremated than organs stolen. It is nobody's right to demand my body that is rape.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to totally argue with the above comment, because I can't be bothered.

But, what if you were the one waiting for a transplant? Would you appreciate more attempts to increase organ donation rates?
It's not demanding, it's just assuming that you would like to save 10 lives when you die. Think of it as one last way to have an impact in the world.
And should you not want to have that impact, then sure. Go ahead, delist. But do think of how selfish a non-donor is going to look while they wait for their transplant.

Anonymous said...

The truth is, people are lazy. That's the reason for the 90% vs. 50% statistic regarding attitudes towards organ donation. It's too much trouble to fill out that little area at the DMV saying you want to be an organ donor. Think about it, you're at the DMV, maybe because you lost your license or you're getting a new one for some reason. It's crowded, there's a baby crying, and you've been waiting for an hour. You're going to whip through that form as fast as possible and probably skip over the organ donation section.

Under presumed consent, a person would have to think twice about it before passing over it. They would have to make the conscious effort to choose to opt-out. It's all psychological, really. I'm all for it. There are way too many people who die on the waiting list for a transplant. I'm not going to use my organs after death, why not give them to someone who will? I understand those who do not want to donate, and the option to still hold that position will still be there, but for the lazy people who can't take the time to fill out the information, presumed consent will raise donation rates significantly. In other countries with this system have an average opt-out rate of 2%. Could you imagine that in the US? I'm all for it.