Your right, it is sad. I just wish they would put this in perspective. There are literally thousands upon thousands of transplants done in the US alone each year. My own center in Minneapolis does, by itself, over 300 kidneys per year. They also do hearts, lungs, livers, pancreas, etc, etc. And there are hundreds of centers in the US, some large and some small. For there to have been only 4 donor deaths in the us, that makes dying from donation a 1 in multi-millions shot in the dark. I just wish the article was less scary for potential donors.
I agree 100%. It's called "presumed consent". They presume that you are willing to donate unless you say otherwise. Unfortunately, every time it has been brought up (here in Canada at least) the tin-foil-hat crowd starts screaming about how doctors are going to kill you in the ER if they think you might be a good donor. What they don't realize is that ER docs don't care about transplants. All they care about is saving your life.
Almost every nation in the world has Presumed Consent, except for the selfish, highly superstitious, and unenlightened USA. A few states have slightly better protocols, but we need a single national standard.
And while I applaud every single living donor, we absolutely could not get by without them (more than 50% of kidney transplants come from living donors), I think that in many cases things are rushed and the presurgery investigation and education of both donor and recipient gets left out. I've heard far more horror stories from live donors and living donor recipients than such tales from cadaver donors. The statistical success rates look SO good for live donor transplants that no one seems to consider than ANYTHING could possibly go wrong even though it is a HUGE surgical procedure fraught with danger for everyone involved.
There is a myth that humans have an "extra" kidneys. Bunk! If we really had an "extra", eveolution would have got rid of it a million years ago. Yes, we can survive with one kidney, but in no way do humans have "disposable parts". Doctor used to think that the spleen and the appendix and the tonsils were just remnants of earlier beings that were totally junk parts. Now we know that they are used for immune function and iron metabolism and red blood cell recycling. Sure we can survive without those things but they are by no means "junk organs".
I'm not sure if the medical profession is lying to us, or the media in their dumbing-down of human interest stories is lying to us, or if our shallowness and easy self-staisfaction makes us lie to ourselves, but attitudes need to change.
Hi John. I really hate to say this, because I'm sure you know how we Canucks hate to be compared to the US, but we are just the same as you up here in Canada. The province of Ontario has tried a few times to bring in presumed consent, but the tin foil hat crowd (link here for amusement) gets their panties in a twist and gets loudly hysterical. So we don't have it. In fact, in Canada, we take it one step further. Even if you have signed your organ donor card, if your spouse/partner/child objects to the donation, it won't happen. It's a huge cause for concern among many folks who know nothing about how this stuff works.
A number of years ago our local kidney center had worked on changing and expanding some of the protocols to expand the donor pool (can't remember the details, but it had to do with using some of the organs in some cases of cardiac death). There was a series of articles in the local paper, written by so-called medical ethecists who implied quite strongly (but never strongly enough to cross the libel law line) that docs in the ER would treat you differently if they thought you were a potential organ donor. I was outraged and wrote a very strongly worded letter to the paper. It was published along with my photo as I talked about how anyone who thought that owed every dedicated professional who had ever worked ER or trauma a huge apology for insulting them in that way. A friend told me a while after that when she visited the emergency room, she passed by the staff lounge and saw my letter posted on their bulletin board. At least they knew how much their efforts are appreciated.
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