September 27, 2010
Organ Donation Conditions
IconDr. Laura, All I can say is HALLELUJAH! to your article advocating putting conditions under which using ones donated organs would be permitted should we die and (obviously) be unable to speak for ourselves! I am a critical care nurse... and I have cared for countless patients who have either received a donated organ in the past and now that organ is failing due to them returning to their old lifestyle of drinking, smoking, using drugs, not taking care of their diabetes etc... or patients on a waiting list for an organ because theirs are failing due to the same lifestyle issues.. and I have come to the same conclusion: I would donate but I want to be able to exclude circumstances under which under which my organs would be donated. To give you an example: I cared for a 30ish year old male who's heart was failing due to a lifetime of methamphetamine use. He was back on a donation list for a heart transplant he had previously been kicked off that list twice for testing positive for the drug. Yes, using drugs even with a failing heart. It was his third and last chance on that list. He was my patient able to speak but on life-support in my unit. He actually divulged to me he could not wait to get his new heart one of the first things on his list to do was to use 'meth' again! I documented this and let his doctors know but because this was just a statement he made, and not a third dirty test, it could have no bearing on his receiving a new heart! Yes, that is how our system works. Here's the worst part... with that little pink dot on your license, you are locked in; your family has NO SAY on to whom your organs would be donated if you were to pass away. There is something called 'first person consent' which states you are pre-registered as an organ donor and that is it. Your family has NO input. I mean, the procurement organization is compassionate but the decision you made to donate is binding; your family cannot revoke or advocate on your behalf to prevent the organs from going to someone who is a murderer, rapist, molester etc? or to someone who trashed their own health with their reckless lifestyle. I know this letter might get quite a response from some; the fact is that there are many, many good, deserving people and children born with horrible conditions who legitimately need an organ to have a crack at survival? and to them, they can have every organ in my body. But to the others, I am so disgusted. I feel ethically trapped.  The procurement organization will not give opportunity to the donor to pre-list conditions under which they would not allow their organs to be donated (obviously excluding race, religion, gender etc). So, I either go with that or revoke my decision to donate all together. That just makes me sick. I exercise, take care of myself work hard and lead a good honest life. I would personally turn over in my grave if my organs went to someone who lived to hurt others or trashed their own lives. Name withheld.

Posted by Staff at 9:02 PM