or would you stop a loved one's organs from being used?
A few years ago, I spent a day at the UK transplant coordination centre in Bristol, seeing how the system works to match available organs to people on the waiting list, and then passing the information to Transplant recovery teams across the country. It was an inspiring experience, and I got to speak to the parents of a young man who had been killed in a motorcycle accident. His organs had helped to save the lives of others.
The service is finding it increasingly hard to get enough organs, and I wondered what your views are - what are your feelings on the subject?
I am registered but the way my body feels right now i reckon 'it' would be rejected as unsuitable.
As Sir Mistoffelees, both my wife and I, 69 & 70, are registered and will, when the occasion arises, respect each others wishes. We are both firm believers in the fact that it's only a body, the 'person' no longer exists. We have both left instructions in our wills should we both expire together and our near and dear are well aware of our views so hopefully will carry out our wishes.
However, I can well understand the difficulties parents of children & young adults might have when a request is made for their organs.
A workmates wife died suddenly of a brain haemorrage and her donations helped 9 people. He was very proud and was pleased to talk about her selflessness.
Me and my wife are both registered and our son is aware.
I've carried a donor card since 1972 when I turned 18.
Once I pop my clogs and my body is of no further use to me, any one that can benefit from it is then is welcome to any spare parts available. My brain is in a particularly excellent condition and little used...
If people like Govanix keep spreading the idea of "body snatching", then organ donation doesn't stand a chance of being universally accepted. In Wales we have chosen to "opt in" so that in times of stress when someone dear passes on, all the unneccessary worries are minimised. The final decision IS STILL with the relatives, and hopefully most people will agree to having some organs removed to help other patients in dire need of new hearts, lungs, corneas etc. My wife and I made the decision years ago to donate our organs, as someone said previously, what's left is just a body. My mortal flesh is gradually giving up the ghost, so I don't suppose there will be much of value left when I pop my clogs, but if one tiny piece can help someone, then they are more than welcome.
The advantages of an opt-in system is that it can relieve grieving relatives of the additional stress imposed by being asked to make a decision at a time when their emotions are all over the place.
The truth about organ donation is that the organs have to be taken as soon after death as possible, and that is the worst possible time for a doctor to come to you and start asking if your loved one's organs can be harvested. Perfect organ donors have very often been involved in a traumatic incident- like a road traffic accident - and are alive when they reach a hospital. Their relatives are in a state of deep shock and then are told that their husband/child/wife etc. has been so badly injured there is nothing that can be done. They are warned to prepare to hear the worst.
Their loved one is on a ventilator, he/she is warm, pink, and the chest is rising and falling. The fact is, the ventilator is doing all that - the person has probably been declared brain dead after tests, and the relatives are told that the ventilator is going to be turned off. It's everyone's worst nightmare, and at that very moment, someone broaches the subject of organ donation.
That is exactly how it was for the parents I spoke to in Bristol. They had to make the decision within twenty minutes, and it was unbelievably distressing, but they said yes. They both said how much they wished that the subject had been discussed before that fateful summer's evening when their son nipped to the store for a bottle of wine to have with a family barbecue.
The following day, my wife and I registered as donors, and our children have all done the same.
Both me and my wife are registered, but as we're both getting on a bit, I think it's unlikely that much will be of use. But when I'm dead, if I manage to help even one person, then at least I've done something in my life worthwhile.
To be honest and blunt, is it better to be able to help someone, or be burnt up in an incinerator. It doesn't take much working out as far as I'm concerned.
"...as we're both getting on a bit, I think it's unlikely that much will be of use."
In order to be an organ donor, you must be no more than 80 years old for cornea donation, or 60 years old for heart valves and tendons donations.
There is no age limit on bone and skin donations.
I've been registered for organ donation for as long as i can remember but now, being over 70, spoke to the transplant people to ask if they'd still want me and the answer was that they could possibly use the corneas. I'm now veering towards leaving my body to the Anatomy Dept at Bristol University. My problem is that I don't want to be buried as there would be no one to tend the grave and I hate the idea of cremation. Cuts down on the options a bit, doesn't it!
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