This is a subject overwhelmingly fraught with emotion. There is a very thoughtful and intense discussion of it going on over at the Belmont Club. Scan for comments by Cedarford, who is a grimly logical person, very tough to counter, and a person who works on organ acquisition named TheNewGuy. It is a problem in the US, but was famously a greater problem in Italy when the son of some American tourists died there in 1994. Italians were astounded when the parents donated the boy's organs. For myself, I am listed as an organ donor on my driver's license and I have told my wife that I don't wish to be resuscitated if I am in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovering a decent quality of life.
The issue boils down to the fact that there are not enough available organs to meet the needs. If that could be changed, the emotional issues would disappear. I know this, because years ago the US went through exactly the same kind of crisis with kidney dialysis. I remember that the shortage of dialysis machines was used in Socratic classroom discussions modeled on the Fred Friendly seminar style, pushing the necessary decisions ever closer to the emotional stress points, turning the issue into Sophie's Choice. Who gets to choose, who goes first, who dies?
My recommendation would be that people should get points to move up places in the line for every year they have been on the organ donor list. Their children would also benefit from this choice. I think that would be enough incentive to eliminate the problem.
7/30/2005 11:19 PM