Organ donation is not all about the donors

Another article discusses the morality of different methods of organ transplant. Strangely absent from the discussion, is any indication of the scale of the problem – something that should be front and centre. The numbers are strangely hard to find, but seem to lie between 400 and 1000 deaths per year, with many more suffering from pain and reduced quality of life because of the lack of available organs.

That should be the main focus of the discussion – those people who would now be living, breathing, enjoying life, contributing to the world and spending time with their friends and family, had they got the organ they needed. It matters not whether our ‘system of organ donation [is] based on generosity and compassion’ – the point is not to show personal virtue for the donor, but to save lives. It is truly bizzare to argue that we must ensure, on compassionate grounds, that more people must die. If you truly want to show generosity and compassion, there are no lack of methods to do so.

As for the argument that changing systems would make our bodies become the property of the state – it’s important to ignore the appeal to emotion, and focus on what’s happening here. We are talking about allowing doctors to take organs from people who are already dead, and using them to keep living people alive. That’s it. Nothing more. And it all happens under a system of presumed consent, so that if you really felt strongly about it, you could opt out entirely.

Remember – if your organs aren’t the property of the state after your death, then they’re usually the property of the worms.

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3 Responses to Organ donation is not all about the donors

  • Mel Wager says:

    Thank you for a well worded argument. I believe that it is not the state that makes the decision to become a donor but an individual and it is not the state that benefits but an individual – like me.

  • Anthony Edgington. says:

    At eighty three, my body has been well used, and I doubt that any part of it has value. Only my mind remains intact and that tells me that once again, someone is attempting to tell me what I should do or not do.
    IF I happened to believe that any part of my body removed, would in some way not qualify my entry into what I perceive as heaven, then by what right do you tell me otherwise? When I choose a particular belief, remember that in defending my rights, you also defend yours, but it would seem that you believe that the rule of majority should always overcome the rights of the individual? I on the other hand believe I am responsible in every way for my actions and decisions, and nobody has the right to disregard them or tell me how I should live that life in so far as I do not trample on their choices. I even have the right to decide that no drunk is going to get my liver, no smoker my lungs etc, selfish of course, but my right non the less and not something you should decide for me.
    Your desire to remove pain is laudable, but your thinking is wrong. I would indeed be happy to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, or a loving heart to someone in need of it, but that does not blind me to the right of my neighbor to make that decision for themselves. No young man, my body is mine to care for as is my mind, and both are working quite well it would seem. (G)

    • Stuart Armstrong says:

      And under the system being discussed here – presumed consent – you would perfectly be allowed to opt out from saving others if you wanted to.

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