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Organ donors and presumed consent.

Eddie Mair | 17:01 UK time, Monday, 17 November 2008

What do you think? More on the story here.


  • 1. At 5:12pm on 17 Nov 2008, Screamingmuldoon wrote:

    When I'm dead, you can have what you like. I've signed up. I don't think it's a no-brainer for everyone, but it is for me.

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  • 2. At 5:12pm on 17 Nov 2008, Essex-Lad wrote:

    I see a simple answer. Only those willing to be on the register to give should be able to recieve.

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  • 3. At 5:13pm on 17 Nov 2008, sue beer wrote:

    In the past I had offered my entire body for organ donation after death. I am now removing myself from the list because it is completely unacceptable for the government to have any part in such a personal decision.

    However I've been on the organ donation website where there is every way of applying to be put on the list - but no way to remove myself!!!! How do I do this, does anyone know?

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  • 4. At 5:19pm on 17 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    As I said on The Glass Box, I have a harmonium I don't want, but no organ.

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  • 5. At 5:24pm on 17 Nov 2008, Bob_bloggist wrote:

    I already give blood. The healthcare services can have everything else just as soon as I've finished with it - I pity the poor soul who gets my face

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  • 6. At 5:26pm on 17 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    The second it becomes opt-out, I'll be opting out. I have been on the register for many years but it should NOT be presumed.

    What's more, if I ever find out that blood donations are being sold I'll stop giving that as well.

    The donation of body parts for the good of others is a very special gift and should be treated with respect ... never taken for granted.

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  • 7. At 5:26pm on 17 Nov 2008, antiquesam wrote:

    Why not let someone have your bits after your dead? You can't do anything with them

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  • 8. At 5:33pm on 17 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 6, blood has been being sold by this country for some years now.

    I am on the organ-donor thingy, but when I had a stroke last year I foolishly did it when I wasn't carrying my wallet, and so didn't have my donor-card with me when I was taken into the hospital. Since (as I discovered later) they got my name wrong, they wouldn't have found my 'yeah, take what you want' in a file under that name if I had died.

    So I am in favour of the opt-out, just for times like that.

    One's cadaver is not one's own property, as far as I know: it is part of one's estate! :-)

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  • 9. At 5:44pm on 17 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    I suppose if the gov't makes it a law that your bits will be taken if you haven't said they can't have them, then they will want everybody to have a health check to see what diseases they might have and put that on file (and lose it).

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  • 10. At 5:44pm on 17 Nov 2008, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    The arrogance of The Supreme Leader knows no bounds, apparently. Not content with spying on us throughout our lives, now he wants to own our bodies after death too!

    Donating one's organs has to be a matter of personal choice - whether by express wish personally before death or by family decision after.

    I agree with the doctor interviewed on the programme - the way to deal with this issue is to improve the processes, particularly liasing with families at the time of death, not another huge database which will take 10 years to create, cost millions and not work anyway.

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  • 11. At 6:06pm on 17 Nov 2008, invincibleoldandwise wrote:

    The committee's findings are good.
    There is always a risk that clinical staff might start to have a different attititude towards you if you became seriously ill and your consent to organ donation could be presumed post mortem. You could go from being a patient in your own right to being just a "human organ store" and a cure for somebody else's problems. Decisions about your own care might be adversely affected.
    After working in the NHS for nearly 40 years, I've seen things that make me unwillingly to carry an organ donor card...

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  • 12. At 6:09pm on 17 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    (11) That's my feeling exactly. I have seen poor clinical care of NHS patients, including a very close family member, which makes me feel very unsure about trusting hospital staff not to succomb to pressure to meet organ transplant targets.

    Let's not forget that this IS all about targets, shall we?

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  • 13. At 6:11pm on 17 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    Chris (8) tell me more about the selling of blood, please? This is news to me. Nothing in the bumf you have to read at each session gives the slightest hint that donations are being exchanged for money ... presumably it's for research of some kind?

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  • 14. At 6:11pm on 17 Nov 2008, emamel wrote:

    I signed up as a donor on my driving license, later adding cornea donorship after a drive at work. However, as this is being introduced by a government that has arrested people under terrorism legislation, only to release them after charging nothing more than a driving offence, a government who seized Icelandic Bank assets under terrorism legislation, although Iceland is one of the 28 countries in the Iraq coalition, I do not trust them. If this legislation comes into force, I shall opt out immediately. Who knows what the government will use this implied permission to do - test nerve agents for war on my tissue, use my semen for impregnation, clone me!
    Also, if I am owned by the government for having been born in this country, will they be paying for my funeral?

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  • 15. At 6:31pm on 17 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 13, I don't know the details because I'm not a suitable donor and haven't looked into it for myself, but I know at least one person who quit giving blood ten years or so ago when she disvoered that it might be being sold rather than given to France, which had a shortage at the time.

    Quite where one might find out what blood is sold to whom and what conditions have to be met for this, I don't know. You could try asking Johann Hari of the Indy, who has a great snit on him because they don't take blood from homosexuals (or I think that's what he is so cross about).

    Hey, will they want organs from practising homosexuals? If not blood, presumably not. So your file will have to have that in it too, won't it, as well as all the rest of the information about all of us that they want to leave on a train I mean sorry hold absolutely securely in a database that can only be accessed by people with legitimate cause...

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  • 16. At 6:55pm on 17 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    I'm afraid that I don't understand the reasoning of several posters here who state that they are currently willing donors but will opt out if the presumption of consent is adopted.

    Surely it is possible to voice opposition to any change and campaign against it without withdrawing a possible donation to those in desperate need of an organ. It strikes me that they are now penalising those that they initially intended to help.

    Personally, I've carried a donor card for decades and I'm not at all sure about 'presumed consent'. But whatever is eventually decided, it won't change my willingness to donate.

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  • 17. At 6:56pm on 17 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    "The NBS is a Special Health Authority (SHA) and covers its costs by charging NHS Trusts and other organisations for the supply of blood components and associated
    products and services. These costs only reflect the handling charges, as all blood collected is freely donated by volunteer donors."

    That's from the National Blood Service's Strategic Plan 2003-2006 ... I'm not averse to them covering their costs, as the improvements they're always making at donating sessions mean it's quicker and more comfortable every time I go.

    I'll stand down the Yellow Alert for now, then. But I've got my eye on the fact that the current strategic plan isn't published on the website. And that the URL is www.blood.co.uk rather than .org.uk.

    Not that I'm suspicious or anything! (Having said that, I'm about to book SO and me in to give blood on Friday!)

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  • 18. At 7:04pm on 17 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Qualified Loon:

    Ditto, with bells on ;o)

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  • 19. At 8:41pm on 17 Nov 2008, Wonko wrote:

    Well, like a fair number here I am totally against presumed consent. You've all made the points that I would have, so I won't repeat them. Suffice it to say I don't like presumed anything - save innocence in a Court of Law - and so I would opt-out straight away if the system came in. It is simply not the States decision to make!

    ;o) []

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  • 20. At 9:41pm on 17 Nov 2008, Screamingmuldoon wrote:

    There's a lot of paranoia and indignation in these posts, which is fine because it means you're all still alive. I can't say for certain, but I am happy with my hunch that your anger (spleen?) will die with you. What I definitely agree with is that the organ donation infrastructure needs a lot of work. Getting organs to recipients is the key piece and it is not logistically easy to do. If people knew their bits would be used and not end up past their sell-by date, I am sure more people would donate. I can't give blood due to "significant anaemia" - which was first spotted by the blood folk. But it doesn't stop them sending me appointments to donate. Makes you wonder.

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  • 21. At 10:21pm on 17 Nov 2008, petersbear wrote:

    i already carry a donor card. For me consent means the card is there, if the doctors can not contact my next of kin my wishes are clear and they should not delay trying to get consent from next of kin.

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  • 22. At 09:32am on 18 Nov 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    Fifi (12) I think your comment ''Let's not forget that this IS all about targets, shall we?'' is harsh.
    As far as I'm concerned, it's all about taking positive action to keep fellow human beings alive.
    I wish it to be taken for granted that anyone is entitled to any of my bits when I'm dead. They'll be of no use to me, and it would be a pity to let them go to waste.

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  • 23. At 11:10am on 18 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    Gillianianianian (22): The shortage of registered donors has been known about for years. The NHS wrings its hands, the politicians tut-tut.

    Then Gordy declares a target: let's up the transplants by ... oooh ... how about 50%!

    (There's a perfect arbitrary % for you. Remind anyone of the target for filling up our Techs... oops, sorry, universities... with students?)

    Suddenly we're in a debate, not about why it's good to be a donor, why it's potentially a comfort to know your recently died loved one is helping half a dozen chronically sick people ... but about the quickest way to meet the target.

    Funnily enough GB's suggestion involves an erosion of our civil liberties - we have to opt OUT of it, just like we'd have to opt OUT of the blessed ID cards one day.

    Don't get me wrong: once I am dead anyone is welcome to any of my bits that are still in working order. But it's the 'when I'm dead' bit that worries me, right at the bottom of all this.

    How do I know that poorly-Fifi will be treated to get her better, rather than treated to get the maximum harvest of transplantable organs, depending on how the hospital has been told to prioritise its targets?

    Sorry Gill, I know it's harsh and it's not a pleasant view to take. I wish I were more trusting. After what I've seen this year, that isn't an option.

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  • 24. At 11:40am on 18 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi -- I can understand that point of view.

    It happens that I personally would rather be dead than kept alive just for the sake of keeping a witless body alive, but I do see that this may not be everyone's view. And I do know that the horrendous SF idea of 'organ-leggers' who will take say one kidney from a victim and sell it, already has a small amount of reality in some places; I'd hate that to start happening as a regular thing.

    Yes, I do see that quotas is a step in that direction and yes, I do find that horrific. But given the way that doctors oppose the whole 'living will' business, and how reluctant they are even to allow a hopeless case to die with dignity rather than starve to death, or to preserve a non-viable foetus at all costs, I don't think it is as likely as all that.

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  • 25. At 11:44am on 18 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    A GP dithered, a haematologist dithered, and the patient died of a hospital-acquired infection while the staff wrung their hands.

    Forgive me if I take a different view.

    I won't be returning to this thread now. Nothing that anyone else has said ... you're all as articulate and thoughtful as ever ...

    Just a bit too upset.

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  • 26. At 12:22pm on 18 Nov 2008, JBentham wrote:

    I have no problem with "presumed consent" but what is need is surely just a joined-up properly managed system?

    The on-line NHS register is difficult to take seriously because it is actually too easy to register with no serious attempt to verify you are actually who you say you are. If I needed a donation I'd be very tempted to get the electoral register and register everyone myself! Also it only covers the donation of specified organs for transplant, not research or teaching and not the whole body.

    I would be quite happy to simply leave my body to the NHS if there was a way to do that, but I want this to be robust so my relatives do not have to be bothered with the gory details necessary for "informed consent". I do not mind if my body parts are used for any useful purpose or even sold if the money is put back into the treatment of others.

    As usual, the Government is trying to use legislation as a substitute for effective management. Sort out the system, and if there is still a problem, think about changing the legislation!

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  • 27. At 1:52pm on 18 Nov 2008, gossipmistress wrote:

    I don't think anyone should have their arm twisted. Education and appropriate information and counselling at the right time has to be the way forward. I'm enrolled, in case any of my bits are still in working order when the time comes! I really like the idea of part of me living on actually, quite apart from the ability to help someone else.

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  • 28. At 2:01pm on 18 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi, I am sorry. And I hope that I haven't added to the pain.

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  • 29. At 2:04pm on 18 Nov 2008, Nigel_N wrote:

    Following on from Chris @6; if, under presumed consent, they get your name wrong, will they just take organs even though you have opted out. Or will opt-outs be obliged to have a tattoo somewhere as proof?

    Fifi; when I was a student I carried a card, now I don't because of a) this simple issue of trust that they will provide the best care rather than collect my organs; and b) the giving of transplants to people with unresolved lifestyle problems (George best being an example).

    Seeing as I am on the long list of people whose blood they do not want, do they want my organs anyway?

    I agree with the report that is such a problem to G Brown, the health professionals should concentrate on educating the public and improving procedures within the health service, then the real target of maximising worthwhile transplants might be achieved without alienating the public.

    This 50% is definitely a USSR Brownism, where we all belong to the state and work for the good of the state. Hasn't he got more important thing to worry about? I suspect that over the next couple of years more lives will be lost to suicide brought about by financial problems than are saved by transplants.

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  • 30. At 3:29pm on 18 Nov 2008, JBentham wrote:

    I am really quite shocked by the callousness and also the irrationality of some of the posters on this topic.

    If you refuse to donate you are not punishing the Government or the medical profession you are punishing the people who need the organs!

    Live donation is a gift of something valuable to you, but post mortem donation costs you nothing. Why would you prefer your organs to rot in the earth or be cremated rather than used to save a life? Or even to be sold with the proceeds used to give medical care to others?

    You claim to fear that the medical profession will treat you as an organ bank not a person if you donate. Perhaps you should fear they will treat you with the consideration you have shown others if you refuse?

    No one seems to be showing any empathy for those who need transplants. How could you justify receiving a transplant if you are not prepared to donate?

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  • 31. At 4:16pm on 18 Nov 2008, Nigel_N wrote:

    JeremyB, so how about some sweet words from the NHS rather than the heavy words of Gordon Brown? Perhaps one of the Health Ministers would like to invite themselves on to the PM Programme to castigate the PM for his heavy handed approach to such sensitive matters.

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  • 32. At 4:48pm on 18 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I discussed this thread briefly with someone not on the blog, and his view is extremely simple:

    Such is the lack of trust in this government that whatever they advocate will immediately make many people want to do the opposite, or to avoid doing what they are told they should, simply because they really do not trust this government any more.

    This is not an argument as to whether or not anyone should trust this or any government, just that it is the way things seem to *be*.

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