Watch Out For Driver's License Deaths

March 24, 2008 09:00 AM

Yes, you read that accurately. One of the latest ideas to pop up in Delaware could literally rob a living person of a vital organ, thus killing that individual. Of course it would not happen at all unless you were in a situation where, while in the hospital, you could not enunciate your wishes regarding your desire to donate an organ or not to donate an organ. 

On the contrary, if you were unable to discuss treatment options, and your driver’s license did not indicate that you were "opting out" of being an organ donor, it could be presumed that you indeed wanted to donate your organs! If this sounds a bit scary, then you are on the right track.

In a perfect world where everyone understood the nature of organ removal, and the difference between donating a non-essential organ and a vital organ such as the heart, one might think that the proposed Delaware law was a noble idea. But as Pastor Gary Knapp of east Gate Presbyterian Church in Millsboro, Delaware said, passage of the bill would raise serious "end of life issues."

WDEL Radio took calls from Delaware residents, most of whom expressed concerns that I think are valid for any citizen in our nation who is fearful of the pro-euthanasia forces gaining a stronger foothold in the law.  Here are the most commonly expressed fears as reported on the WDEL Blog by Allan Loudell:
 

  1. The vague notion that "Government" would be crossing the line here.
  2. Fears that many people—especially young people—wouldn't read the "fine print." (Schwartzkopf told me today that the "opt out" language could be presented in BOLD print.) But, Government would presume a person's willingness to donate organs without truly informed consent!
  3. Fears that young people, who ordinarily need parental permission for a variety of transactions, would be making such a life-and-death decision (literally).
  4. Fears that some people might not understand the language. Opt out?
  5. Whether because of sinister movie plots, urban legends, or reality (Tuskeegee experiments), fears that a doctor might be tempted to accelerate a declaration of death to benefit a patient in desperate need of an organ.

    As one nurse declared on Al Mascitti's show: "I would NOT want to turn doctors loose in the candy store! I should NOT have to do something to keep my own organs."

    Fox's prime-time television hit, "House", probably only reinforces this subtle fear!
  6. Fears that a dollar-driven medical system, which already may deny patients expensive "extraordinary" treatment, might not be the best arbiter of a patient's legal death.


While Loudell seems to take a rather middle of the road position on what the callers had to say, I have to tell you that I do not. No agency of any government should ever put Americans in the position of having to "opt out" in order to protect themselves from those who would do anything at all to acquire much needed organs for various organ donation programs. As a matter of fact, no agency of the government should be doing anything to advance the culture of death.

Therefore I hope the Delaware bill (House Bill #302 "Relating to Anatomical Gifts and Studies"), and proposals like it the nation over, die natural deaths and are permanently transplanted into the proper waste bins.

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