I am an organ donor myself. I have signed forms to donate my whole body for scientific research and directed medical personnel to take whatever organs they want.
In fact, I’d prefer that nothing is left over for my family to have to deal with because I haven’t yet looked into how that is handled. I don’t want my family receiving a bill for “disposal of unused parts.”
For anyone offended by the bluntness of this, I apologize. I have thought about this for years. At first, I only donated my “eyes.” More recent forms changed to include more options so, about 4 years ago, I left “all major organs.”
This past year, when I renewed my driver’s license, the form had a statement whereby you could donate your whole body to science. That sounded great to me, and I signed that.
On the other hand, when my hard-of-hearing dad went to renew his license and the woman asked him if he wished to be an organ donor, he seemed startled and said, “What?”
She repeated the question and my dad, who was quite the gentleman around ladies and rarely swore in public, said, “H*ll, no,” loud enough for the 20 seated-and-waiting people to hear his decision.
Which is why I have to vote “No” on the opt-out system.
Some people feel strongly, like my dad, that they are going to leave this earth with what they came in with.
Some families have very strong feelings about this, also. My children had some qualms about my choices, and that’s why I hesitated a couple times in making the final decision (in my will and advance directive).
I don’t want anyone visiting my grave after I’m deceased and, I feel, by not having a burial site, no one can visit me once I’m gone. That’s a personal decision, yes, but I think the family has rights, too. Some feel you are mutilating or desecrating the body by removing parts.
In all consideration for those left behind, the living should have some input about the final choices made, in advance, by the family member they will lose. Some people cannot accept the idea of cremation. The survivors have to live with the final decision, not the deceased.
To have an “opt out” instead of “opt in” seems to take advantage of too many groups of people: the uneducated, the mentally retarded, the foreigners who don’t understand the questions, the elderly, the hard-of-hearing who could easily say “Yes” to any and all verbal questions, etc., etc.
Doing some high-minded thinking, it would greatly benefit those who desperately need the organs.
We have all read of the “heroes” who donated 6 vital organs to 6 different dying people, and everyone thinks that’s great – especially the grateful recipient and their families!
If we wish to become heroes, we must take the responsibility to sign the form and make it happen.
I don’t believe any doctor would hurry one’s demise so he could use the organs for a patient on a “waiting list.” It makes for good TV, but I really don’t believe any doctor would be so unethical as to even try to play matchmaker between organ donors and recipients. Many times the donor and recipient live hundreds of miles apart. Too many different people are involved in those decisions.
My mother-in-law worried about someone “hastening her death” and decided not to donate any organs.
She was diabetic, had serious heart problems, was blind, and had multiple health problems which probably made her organs unusable. She took everything with her, and I think that is a very personal right.
But I know a couple donors whose deaths were certainly not rushed in any sense. In fact, doctors seemed intent on not allowing anybody to die a peaceful death; they kept coming up with another idea of something else to try and prolong that person’s life.
When my 84-year-old father was dying, no one hurried him off to the other side. As I said, he chose to keep his organs, but I witnessed doctors doing everything to not allow him to die “on their shift.” In fact, it got so bad, when Dad said he was ready to go, I had to ask them to let him die peacefully, and not do one more medical procedure to prolong his dying.
Death is personal. Organ donation is personal. Decisions must be made.
But, ultimately, the gifts must be offered, not taken by default.