Everyone Should Automatically Be Opted into an Organ Donation Scheme
There is a drastic shortage of organs for transplant. Most people say they would donate but never quite get around to subscribing to the scheme. If everyone was automatically opted-in and had to opt-out the number of people on the waiting list would drop to zero and the lives of countless number of people would be improved.
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Most people support organ donation, only a few carry the card
About 90% of people agree with the principle of organ donation yet only 25% of Britons have signed-up. As a result it’s estimated that each year 400 people on waiting list will die from not getting the organ they need. An opt-out scheme would solve this problem in one fell swoop.
The remedy is not to force everyone opt out, but to make a solid, convincing, case why people should opt-in. If the case doesn’t exist people shouldn’t be coerced into doing something they don’t want to do. If the case does exist presenting the arguments will encourage more sign-up without coercion.
What use are organs to you when you’re dead?
The body is a use-once vessel. We don’t take our organs with us and wont need them wherever we go. However, other people might get great benefit from the things we have no more use for. It is selfish for people to want to hang on to their organs.
Some faiths argue that the body must be whole when buried or cremated. We must ask each one of them to opt-out and what if they can’t speak English, what if they just come here on holiday?
It might be selfish to hang on to our organs but our body is just about the only thing that’s ours. Surely we can do with it what we see fit?
What if your loved-one was a recipient?
Most opponents of the opt-in scheme seem to be arguing from the perspective of a relative to the loved-one. But imagine if you or someone you loved needed a transplant. What would you do in order to get the heart or lung they needed? If no organs were available I bet you’d be begging someone on life-support to give theirs. This scheme takes away that.
We can’t argue from emotional standpoints, reason and logic –and detachment – must prevail. We have to ask is this system right, is it proper. And taking something from somebody without their express consent is not right and it is not proper.
There is a serious shortage of organs for transplant in the UK.
There is a serious shortage of organs for transplant in the UK, with about 5,600 people on the transplant waiting list but fewer than 3,000 transplant operations carried out every year. Although about 70% of the public say in surveys that they would be willing for their organs to be used by others after their death, only around 15% have signed the NHS organ donor register. Many organs are therefore buried or cremated when their owners would have wanted them to be used again, if possible. Moving to a system of presumed consent would enable those who object to the use of their organs to have their views respected, while ensuring the maximum possible donation rate from the rest of the population. Similar systems work in Sweden, in Spain (which has a 'soft opt-out' system where the views of close relatives are taken into account) and in Austria (which has a 'hard opt-out' system where relatives’ views are ignored). Spain has a higher number of donors than the UK and is the only country to have sustained a year-on-year increase in organ donation for the last ten years.
Withholding of consent is not the most significant factor in the current UK organ shortage. Seven out of every ten families approached do give their consent to the use of their relative’s organs for donation; refusal of consent where the donor has previously indicated a willingness to donate, such as with a donor card, is extremely rare. The biggest single factor in national organ donation rates is road safety: most donors are accident victims, as people who die of old age or disease tend not to have suitable organs for donation. Road accident statistics account for the much higher rate of organ donation in Spain than in Britain, for example. Other important factors, which this policy does nothing to address but which account for wide disparities between donation rates in different countries, include cultural attitudes to the disposal of bodies and the provision of intensive care beds. These national differences are reflected in the fact that, for example, Sweden has a lower donation rate per million population than the UK, despite the fact that it has an opt-out system.
-Many people actually support organ donation but never actually opt into it but yet they feel free, when they are in need of an organ, to use an organ donors organs.
-You have no use for your organs when your dead.
-You should feel happy that even in death you can still save anothers life.
-One organ donor can donate a majority of its organs, saving and improving many lives.
-If you really don't support organ donation, you can always opt out
Some just don’t bother to register as a donor, even if they support the cause.
It goes without saying that organ donation, in virtually all cases, is a good thing. It helps to save lives, generally does no harm. Unfortunately, most people aren’t organ donors. This is not because they don’t believe in the cause, but because they’re simply too lazy to go out and fill in the form that makes them an organ donor. Statistics show that the majority of people in North American and European nations support the idea of organ donation. In most countries, however, only a small portion of the population are actually organ donors.
In France, 98% of citizens are organ donors, compared to only about 25% in North America and most other European nations. This is because in France, all people are organ donors at birth. As a society, we tend to choose the "default" option. If people are automatically organ donors at birth, they can still choose to opt out of being an organ donor at any time. However, those who are impartial and are not severely opposed to organ donation will have the chance to help people in need.
organ donation is a good thing
There is a desperate shortage of organ donors in the U.S. Your going to be dead anyways and your organs are just going to deterioriate! If you can give anything useful to another than it should be harvested. It also gives many people a second chance at life. What if your loved one was a reciepient!
Under the current system, the final decision over whether an organ is donated is made by the family
Under the current system, the final decision over whether an organ is donated is made by the potential donor’s family. In many cases, family members may not know their relative’s wishes, and may offer an objection which the donor would not support - for example, they may hold beliefs about the importance of bodily integrity before burial which their relative rejected. Consulting the family is a denial of the donor’s autonomy.
Presuming consent and ignoring the wishes of the potential donor’s family could cause major distress to relatives and partners. This could lead to adverse publicity for the cause of organ donation. Offending the family’s feelings could also adversely affect their trust and respect for the medical profession. At death, the wishes of the victim’s family should be more important than those of the victim - they are, after all, still alive, and have to live with the consequences of any decision taken.
The death of a relative is always extremely traumatic.
The death of a relative is always extremely traumatic. At this difficult time, families are not best placed to make the right decision on their relative’s behalf. It is wrong to place such a heavy extra burden on them, and better to leave it to the donor herself.
There could be medical risks with removing organs for donation without discussion with relatives. Relatives are an important source of information about the potential donor’s previous health, and are currently routinely questioned as part of the screening process.
The number of donors in the USA has declined following...
The number of donors in the USA has declined following an initial increase on the introduction of the 'required request' rule. The key point about Spain is that, despite the fact that it routinely consults relatives, it operates an opt-out system and the wishes of the donor are key - it is an example on the proposition side. The only way of ensuring the maximisation of donated organs is to operate a strict opt-out system so that every suitable organ can be used for donation unless the donor specifically objects
There is no need to adopt this policy in order to achieve an increase in donated organs. In the USA the 'required request' rule makes it mandatory to make enquiries into the possibility of organ donation before a life-support machine is switched off. This makes it less likely that opportunities for donation will be overlooked, but ensures that families continue to be involved in the process. In Spain, where a 'soft opt-out' policy is in force, relatives are always consulted by a trained professional to ensure that they are aware of the possibility and implications of organ donation - this increases relatives’ willingness to allow the use of their loved-one’s organs, and their support for the donation programme.
Some people will be distressed by the removal of their loved-ones’ organs
The death of a loved one is always a traumatic event, especially if the death is sudden – and people who die suddenly when young are ideal candidates for organ donation.
We are piling on the misery to demand that relatives allow their loved ones to be cut open and their organs harvested. The last thing people want at that time is to be asked to make an agonising decision about whether someone else should be able to benefit from their son or daughter’s death. If the donor has consented beforehand its one thing, but it is heartless and deeply upsetting to ask that people be made to opt-out at the moment of bereavement.
If indeed the last thing people want is to be forced to make a difficult decision lets make the decision for them. If the golden rule is that organs will be used whenever there is a need their actual use will not come as a surprise and may even be a source of comfort in later years.
People will get over the fact their loved one’s organs have been used, even against their wishes. But the person who would have died without the transplant, or the person whose life is immeasurably improved, will never get over not having the transplant.
It will be difficult to opt-out
It’s hard enough to opt-out of mailing list let alone an organ donation one. Imagine the guilt that will be levied on all those who call up to have their name removed – and that’s if the system works (for lets face it, government does not have a good record when it comes to computer systems).
An organ donation list can hardly be compared to a mailing list. And imagine the stink that would be caused should people not be able to opt-out. You can be sure that the newspapers opposed to the scheme would be the first to learn about problems and would make a huge fuss if any were found. In such instances, the damage to the system would be irreversible and, therefore, it’s hard to imagine any system not explicitly following the requests of anyone not wishing to participate.
What if a doctor decides to 'let you go' to get an organ?
It is not beyond the realms of possibility to imagine that relatives of people on life-support will be pressured into letting their loved-ones go if an organ is urgently needed. Imagine the pressure of having to let your child die so someone else can live. No-one should be put into that position, no doctor should have the temptation put in front of them.
Surely it cannot be beyond our ability to come up with safeguards to prevent such an occurrence. Ethical specialists could create firm guidelines for doctors to proceed; perhaps only switching off life-support when approval from three different consultants has been gained.
Other countries that have it have not seen a direct increase in donation.
Spain has had an opt-out system since 1979 but has only seen an increase in organ donation over the last ten years or so, showing that the system did not directly increase donation numbers in this case.
Instead, it is widely believed that the improvements in donor rates in Spain followed the implementation of a comprehensive national procurement system.
Many European countries already have such a scheme with no problems
Countries such as Sweden, Austria and Spain have such a system, and their organ donation rates are much higher than in the UK. There has been no significant backlash from the public since such schemes were introduced, and indeed Spain has even had such legislation since 1979.
What do you think?