Sunday, January 13, 2008

Organ donation opt out (2)

Apart from the stealth ID card argument, like many other bloggers I have some real concerns about this move which are practical. I also favour the libertarian argument that it is my body and I'll do what I like with it but that debate will just get lost on most politicians and the general public.

It is easy to see the argument from the recpient end of the telescope: people are dying for want of what has become for many organ replacement operations a fairly routine, low risk, procedure and all that is missing are the donor organs. But like victim's justice in criminal cases those at the sharp end shouldn't be the ones making policy, no matter heart rending the case.

It may have become a cliche but John Campbell Argyll was correct when he said "hard cases make bad law" and this one will provide another gravy train for human rights lawers and others as well as providing great distress for relatives and friends of organ donors. Leaving aside the ID card argument, for now, one only has to consider the case of someone who changes there minds, opts out and dies before their changes have fed through the system. Then there those who aren't carrying their ID cards? And what about errors in the database? In all these cases errors are going to be very distressing for the donor's family.

No, this is a bad policy and the Governement should stay well clear of this one and instead look at why more people aren't carrying donor cards or making their wishes known to their relatives?

I suspect I am a fairly typical person on this subject: I don't object to my organs being donated and my family know that and I know that they have a similar position. So why don't I carry a donor card? Laziness? Pobably a bit of that I used to carry one and lost it but never got round to replacing it. Fear of tempting fate? I am sure that is the case for some and no doubt there are people who have picked one up and been killed in a car accodent withing 24 hours and that this puts some off.

Anyway, whatever the reason education is the only solution and perhaps instead of spending ££££££££'s on scaring us to death with scare stories on obesity and the like, perhaps some of that money could be spent on education and the promotion of donor cards? Or not takenfrom us in the first place, but thats not for this discussion.

And for the avoidance of doubt I'm against the opt in database solution as well. We all know how incomptenet the Governement is when it comes to IT projects and this would be just another waste of money

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