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I have written before about my doubts and dislike of most human transplant techniques and proposals, these dislikes being based upon the apparent eagerness of medical people to ‘harvest’ or to slice organs off ‘donors’ while they are still technically alive. My unease was first established many years ago, when South Africa was still getting used to the news that Christiaan Barnard had performed the world’s heart transplant, and that the process actually worked. Following on from this ‘world’s first’ procedure, thousands more have followed, but to this writer, at least, the doubts remain.

I wrote of my own collision with the ‘Organ vultures’ which occurred many years back, when I stated:-

I have personally seen the medical vultures in operation, whilst in South Africa. I had transported the grieving parents of a child, gravely injured in an accident, to the hospital. There they were told, sympathetically enough, of their son’s condition and prognosis, which was fatal. But there was a second medic in the queue to speak with this couple, and all he was asking that the parents sign the various forms which he held on a clip-board. He was very persistent in his requests, but rather vague as to the ends built in to the forms. Being a very interested observer, and also being both hard-headed and willing to speak out, I took this young white-coated clown to one side, and asked, yes ‘asked’ would be a good word, what he wished of my friends. Very reluctantly, he showed me the forms, which of course were a series of consents for tissue and organ removal from their dying son.
I made him, and his Administrator, very aware what would happen if the mortal remains of my friends’ son were not released for burial as complete as possible, as they were in no state to give cogent thought to having their son’s body plundered in the name of medical excellence and study.

To donate is good, if you are so inclined; anything else is theft!

Which is why I write again of the Transplant Industry, of the propositions and proposals now available to people desperate for an answer, a solution to a medical problem which maybe once was uniformly fatal, but that solution comes with its own unique invasion of another person’s right to choose whether to agree to be a donor or not. We read of a seven year-old boy who has contracted leukaemia, and of his THREE YEAR-OLD brother who was ASKED by his parents to agree to be a bone-marrow donor to his brother. What sort of ghouls are treating this small boy; and more importantly; are the parents from the same planet as the rest of us. Imagine, they are placing a decision, whether to agree to be a part of a life-altering procedure for his brother, onto the mind of a THREE YEAR-OLD boy. Just imagine what his life would be like if this small boy had said “NO!”; and his brother had succumbed to this disease, the same disease which had killed my beloved sister some fifty-odd years ago?

Ghouls and vultures is what I termed them before, and my mind has not changed one iota!


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6 thoughts on “Pressure? Us? Never in a million…..

  1. You are quite free not to participate in any organ donor program. However many lives have been saved from those generous enough to participate in such a deserving and nearly miraculous improvement in modern medicine.

  2. and of his THREE YEAR-OLD brother who was ASKED by his parents to agree to be a bone-marrow donor to his brother

    Yes, that is horrific.

    Better to have the seven year old child die.

    Excellent point.

  3. Each to his own on this one.
    Personally I find the whole transplant thing kind of weird. If I understand correctly the recipient has to take tabs for trotl to prevent rejection, and consequently their immune system is weakened?

    My lungs have deteriorated even in this last year. Sometimes it is a bit scary if the air quality is bad, or it is humid. But if offered would I go for a lung transplant?
    I don’t think so. Being very squeamish my imagination would be working overtime, and at nearly 68 I have had a pretty good innings. I think I would ask my doctor to give me something that let me slip away rather than continue fighting for breath like you’re drowning.
    But that’s me. Other people feel differently and if they are happy with a transplant that would improve their quality of life that’s fine.

  4. Progress and modern life certainly puts new pressures on our concept of right and wrong and morality in general, particularly so in the medical profession where it is often a matter of ‘life or death’.

    I read an article a while ago re the dilemma of a hypothetical doctor in a hypothetical A&E, when a number of patients involved in a serious accident were bought in for treatment.

    All needed a transplant of one sort or another, except one who was in reasonable shape. As it happened, he could provide enough organs to save several of his companions lives, – but in the process of saving theirs, he would be in danger of losing his.

    The problem was – would it be moral to save his one life and against the real possibility of several or more of his companions losing theirs, or better to lose one against the certainty of saving two or three, or more! – especially if the survival of the donor, the least injured, relied on that same doctor’s expertise and skills.

    It could be argued that it would be a simple decision, – but I very much doubt that. Would or should that decision be the doctor’s to make?

    When compared to a decision of consciously allowing a terminally ill patient to expire, perhaps by posting a DNR notice on the patients notes, in order to harvest an organ, – a fairly common situation I believe, it seems to pose more than just question of morality, but also a pushes the boundaries of our trust in the medical profession.

  5. Ernest,
    I never had kids. Something to do with asthma, the immune system and “firing blanks.”
    For quite a few years I carried that sense of sadness that it was unlikely that I would ever be a father of children I could love, play with cuddle and encourage. People I know in similar circumstances chose to go “the way of the donor”, but I could never choose that road. I think that we all have a life span that is dependent on good fortune, good genes and looking after your health. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you are or what you have; only that at some point you make your peace with God.

  6. Agit8ed,

    “But if offered would I go for a lung transplant?”

    The point I was exploring was just how much trust must we have in our doctors, whether being a donor or a recipient.

    It seems that in this modern age doctors are taking more of the ‘life or death’ decision making upon themselves. Where once they largely seemed to be guided by the Hippocratic Oath, an oath that was their guarantee to us that it was our best interests they had at heart.

    With the advent of various ‘NHS Pathways’, it seems that the Hippocratic Oath has been replaced by some sort of ‘Cost Account’s Pledge’.

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