Tuesday, May 04, 2010

NY lawmaker urges presumed organ consent

I am against this because the U.S. does not have universal health care. Many people cannot get needed organ implants because they can't afford them. What is not publicized is that to be eligible for an organ implant, you have to show that you can afford the continuing costs of sustaining it, which are huge. Even with health insurance, it may not be affordable. This bill depends on the fact that many people would not get around to opting out, even if they were aware of all the facts and did not want to be donors. Under the conditions in our country, I consider this idea immoral.

I would be for rules that give precedence to people who had previously signed up to be donors. I think I would be for honoring a person's wish to be a donor, even if relatives were against it. I would even be for refusing the procedure for adults who had not signed up to be donors before they became ill.

But I don't thin those who cannot afford organ implants, much less those who are poor and uninsured, should be used as organ donors for those better off, unless they deliberately and knowingly choose to do so.

And I've been around long enough to know that many of those who can afford it, just don't care about the less fortunate.


updated 6:49 p.m. ET, Tues., April 27, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York assemblyman whose daughter is alive because of two kidney transplants wants his state to become the first in the nation to pass laws that would presume people want to donate their organs unless they specifically say otherwise.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky believes the "presumed consent" measures would help combat a rising demand for healthy organs by patients forced to wait a year or more for transplants. Twenty-four European countries already have such laws in place, he said.

If he succeeds, distraught families would no longer be able to override their loved ones' decisions to donate upon their death. And eventually, hospitals would be able to assume the deceased consented to have his or her organs harvested, unless the person refused in writing.

Brodsky's interest in organ donation is personal; his 18-year-old daughter, Julianne "Willie" Brodsky, received a kidney four years ago from a donor who was struck by lightning and an earlier transplant from her mother.

"People's survival should not rest on acts of God alone," said the elder Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat.

Advocates say the availability of healthy donor organs is low just about everywhere nationwide, where 106,000 people are on a waiting list that averages three to four years for each type of organ.

But serious emotional, medical and ethical concerns worry families, who currently can stop organ harvests even if their loved ones agree to donate. So New York will move slowly, Brodsky said.

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Presumed consent, opponents say, could force someone to become a donor against their will. It also might lead patients viewed as prospective donors to worry about how hard a medical team will work to save them if there is a greater benefit to harvesting the organs.

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Presumed consent, especially compared to another possible option of creating a legal organ market, can work in the United States as it has successfully in Europe, Caplan said.

"I have been arguing since 1983 for presumed consent ... Spain, Austria, and Belgium shows success and it works and people don't feel they aren't given a fair chance to say 'no,'" he said.

These countries, like all other advanced economies except the U.S., have universal health coverage.

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