Proposal: All New Yorkers Become Organ Donors
Assemblyman Brodsky Earlier Introduced a Bill That Would Have Made Organ Donation the Default Position for Every New Yorker.
You know you are on to a scam when a proposal redefines basic language. This politician has suggested that who is a donor should be decided by the state.
That’s kind of like the mandatory volunteer corps the US House of Representatives voted on last year.
This shouldn’t come as any surprise, however. Organ donation has never been about informed consent. I doubt if most people who give permission to have their organs removed realize they are authorizing the removal of those organs while they are still alive.
Many people think that if they die in the parking lot of a hospital they can have their vital organs removed and given to someone else. They cannot. It is too late. Most organs (the cornea might be one exception, for example) must be taken from your body while you are still breathing and your heart is still beating.
There were no legal organ donations of vital organs in the U.S. until after the AMA changed their definition of death in 1973 from the previous definitions of irreversible cessation of respiration and circulation (your heart stopped and you stopped breathing, and no one could resuscitate you). These, of course, are Biblically-based definitions of death.
There were several awful consequences to this new legal phrase: brain death.
First, of course, there was no settled definition of brain death (and there still isn’t!). At last count, there were about 23 definitions of brain death.
Second, only a new definition of death could justify the removal of vital organs. So, “he’s dead now, we can take his organs” could be said legally, if not sincerely. This death was by decree, not by science or rationality. In fact, the legal change of definition that followed the AMA’s change would be in the face of contrary evidence. Before the definition was changed, several “practice” studies were done using the new definition and resulted in calling some patients “dead”. It carried no legal authority so no organs were removed, of course. But shockingly (to those wanting to change the definition), several of those that had been declared “dead” would come back to life.
Third, declaring people dead while they were still breathing and their hearts were still beating would more easily justify the removal of life support mechanisms. Instead of letting someone die (which arguably is justifiable in some cases) you would simply remove machines from people who were “already dead”.
These changes have had one other sorrowful result. The line between death and life has been blurred in the eyes of the public. When Terri Schiavo was dying of thirst, many journalists defended what was done to this poor woman because she was “brain dead” anyway.
Now, some want to take organs from unwilling “donors”. What was questionably “informed consent” may soon become “presumed consent.” Will death panels be even more encouraged to assign people to death, when there is the added “incentive” of finding good organs for harvesting?