Gordon Brown wants sick Brits to be assumed to have consented to be organ donors unless they’ve previously said otherwise. But most organs are harvested while the donor is still breathing, so his policy will significantly hike the Brit state-sponsored murder rate.
At the moment, the law requires that each individual explicitly state that they consent to such a move: you have to carry an organ donor card in order for doctors to use your organs once you are dead; failing that, your relatives have to state that you would have consented. The Prime Minister proposes that everyone should be presumed to consent to their organs being used for transplant after their death…
Actually, only these organs are removed “once you are dead”:
The following tissues can be procured: bones, tendons, corneas, heart valves, femoral veins, great saphenous veins, small saphenous veins, pericardium, skin grafts, and the sclera (the tough, white outer coating surrounding the eye). These are only procured after someone has died.
But for the rest, the donor has to be alive (my ellipsis and link):
…the heart, intestines, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas…are procured from a brain dead donor or a donor where the family has consent for donation after cardiac death (but) has not progressed to brain death.
Here’s a doctor’s comment (11:28):
Your leader writer and the Prime Minister seem to be labouring under the same crucial misunderstanding. They write as if they believe that organs for transplantation are taken from the donor after his death.
They are not. They are removed after the diagnosis of “brain stem death”, which is a pre-mortal clinical syndrome, while the donor is still very much alive, with naturally beating heart and active responses to the trauma of the organ procurement surgery.
“Active responses” to being cut up presumably includes screaming. And it’s sufficient for the medical team to deem you category III, which means awaiting cardiac arrest (heart attack). In that case:
Withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment in the face of a hopeless prognosis should be a standard part of patient care, irrespective of whether a patient can be a donor. Only after such decisions have been firmly made should a patient be considered as a potential organ donor.
Although such treatment can be continued until the transplant team arrive, no additional treatment should be started to improve the organs – until the point of death, the patient should be treated exactly as any other dying patient.
So what we’re looking at here is a decision making process. The medical teams for the prospective donor and recipient must in practice collaborate, since it’s essential organs are removed at a time when they can be quickly transplanted.
So the team responsible for medical care of the donor has to balance their efforts to prolong life against the interests of the recipient who will die without a transplant.
Our friend Bayes tells the team that you should be harvested when the product of:
(The chance of the donor surviving) times (the value of the donor’s survival (life expectancy modified by quality))
is less than
(The chance of the recipient surviving) times (the value of the recipient’s life (life expectancy modified by quality)).
If organ donation is not an option, the team will treat you until you die, which by definition is after you cease to be of value as an organ donor.
From which it follows that either apparently mortally ill people will be killed prematurely whenever an organ recipient is available, or they will be kept alive until one becomes available.
There’s another problem, since Brown wants his new policy to yield a measurable result – increasing the percentage of the population providing transplants.
That’ll require target-setting of state doctors, along the lines of the targets used to increase the number of adoptions.
The latter policy had predictable unintended consequences – people looking to adopt seek babies, since they (wrongly) assume they’ll be more amenable to molding to their own image. But most kids available for adoption aren’t babies, so in order to meet targets an industry of state-licensed psychopaths has grown up to take babies from vulnerable women at the moment of birth.
In similar manner, Brown’s transplant policy will result in the premature killing of young and unacceptable people (smokers, fat people, etc) to prolong the lives of those deemed acceptable by the Brit state – non-drinking, thin, complaint, and otherwise healthy types.
It’s said that people get the governments they deserve, but it’s hard to see how the civilized and amiable Brits deserve this horrible government.