Should registered organ donors be given priority for receiving organs?
Is it all about give and take? Should people who sign up to be organ donors be given priority if they one day need an organ themselves? Or is this just not fair?
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ENCOURAGEMENT FOR ORGAN DONATION
It may encourage more people to actually become donors. The NHS Organ Donor Register holds about 16 million people who want to donate organs or tissue. However at the end of March 2008 there were 7655 patients actively waiting for a transplant, which shows there still is a high demand for organs. Therefore perhaps enabling patients to be given priority if they register will help. (http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/statistics/statistics.jsp)
It might work the other way and discourage people who see a human rights issue with this way of separating out who deserves an organ. Everyone has an equal right to treatment, so why prioritise people in this way?
There has been some public support for this practice. In Canada there is a ‘Public Cadaveric Organ Donation Program’ (http://jme.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/31/4/188)
Whilst there is some public support for this issue, many people may still be uncomfortable with the idea of prioritising such a thing as organ donation which is still a very controversial issue
GIVING DONORS THEIR ‘FAIR SHARE’
A group called ‘LifeSharers’ in Nashville has been set up. Their 10,000 + members promise that on their death they will donate their organs. Priority for these organs is given to other LifeSharers members. The group argues that, ‘by becoming a member you make the organ transplant system fairer by helping registered organ donors get their fair share of organs.’(http://www.lifesharers.com/)
Why should donors be treated any differently to anyone else on the register. 16 million people have signed up in order to donate their organs. If this system was put in place, those 16 million would have priority over those who are too sick to give away organs anyway and who desperately need an organ transplant through no fault of their own. There should not be a 'fair share' issue. The organs are there for those who need them most and that is how the list should continue tbe prioritised.
It is unfair to prioritise people in such a way. The only way people should be prioritised is where there is a desperate need for an organ that is more desperate than someone else’s. Most people on the list are there because the transplant will be life saving.
On the contrary, it is double standards for those not willing to donate their organs to thereafter ask to be placed at the front of the queue for someone elses.
All those who enter into organ donorship should receive some benefit for doing so, and fairness would suggest that should be being placed at the front of the queue if needing an organ themself.
IS THERE REALLY A NEED FOR PRIORITISING?
16 million people have already registered, therefore the use of government campaigns such as the one launched in 2001 to increase the number of listed donors from 8 million, have worked without the need for prioritising donors over others. (http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/newsroom/news_releases/article.jsp?releaseId=224)
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF ORGAN DONATION?
The consideration for an ‘opt-out’ system of organ donation received heavy criticism from the public, especially when it came to human rights aspects of that decision. Organ donation is a sensitive subject and if the public thought that there was favouritism present, it may have a detrimental effect on the NHS and the public perception of organ donation.
What do you think?