13 4 mins 15 yrs


caduceus2.jpgJournalists and of course the British public all instinctively know when the ‘Silly Season’ starts; that time when Parliament is in recess, all of France goes on holiday, John Prescott is scheduled to do something, and the British Medical Association’s prize poodle, Sir Liam Donaldson schedules his annual call for the Burke-and-Hare brigade to be given unlimited access to the dead and the dying for the purpose of "harvesting" as many body parts as they can slice off, out, or from any cadaver that is going spare! This call is made upon ‘humanitarian’ grounds, as the list and numbers grow longer of those who have been told that their quality of life may well improve if they receive a "donated’ liver, heart, lungs, kidney or, for all I know, testicle!

Instead of the tried and tested regime of those who wish to volunteer an organ in the event of their death having to sign up and thus opt-in, the bloodsucker brigade want to reverse this system, thus allowing the slicers to attack any body who has not specifically signed up so as to escape the scalpels of these grisly butchers.

I hear the arguments of the many who state that, as the technology is available, and the needs of the suffering rise above all else, the law should be changed so that we all are PRESUMED to have given consent for our bodies to be sliced and diced, all in the cause of replacement eyes, kidneys etc., etc., etc.! It also goes without comment that it is precisely the human condition that we are just too damn lazy to rise as one and sign up for the cards if we actually believe in this practice, so conversely if we have to sign up so as not to have our relatives pestered beyond belief by a scavenging horde of surgeons, all demanding their little piece of our mortal remains, we won’t, so allowing unrestricted carving practice for the recipients of this grisly proposed change in the Law.

I lived in South Africa at the time when Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplants, and was accompanying two friends, a mother and father, as they held the death watch at the bedside of their young son, who lay dying as the result of a speeding driver. A young medical bloke was continually poking his head around the screens, and attempting to get either parent to sign certain papers held on a clip-board. Finally, as he grew ever more insistent, I simply took him by the throat and briskly enquired what the hell he was doing? A brief scan of the papers disclosed the information which he was trying to hide from these two stricken friends, that the documents gave other surgeons unrestricted access to the boy’s body upon brain death, in order to remove his major organs in the belief that they would be used to possibly extend the life or health of another!

There were suitable grovelling apologies made to my friends later, but if I had not stuck my nose in, I reckon that their son’s body would have been emptied in the cause of ‘knowledge’ and to hell with the consequences for the grief-stricken parents.

My point is, simply made; if you believe in the theory and practice of transplantation, fair enough; but don’t attempt to press-gang everyone into the barnyard, because there are plenty outside who just don’t want to join up, instead wish to buried, or burnt, intact as nature made us!


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13 thoughts on “the new bodysnatchers call again!

  1. Wasn’t there several cases of hospitals – Alder Hey,is a name that springs to mind – of taking organs from deceased children – in the name of ‘research’, of course, – without even bothering to ask the parents permission?

    Talk about familiarity breeding contempt, it appears that one of the achievements of the NHS ‘treadmill’, is the eradication of any sense of feeling of humanity. We truly are ‘just another number’…

    That the ‘powers that be’, in the medical trade, have failed to persuade, even after much publicity, to have sufficient donors to carry donor cards, surely must send them a message that perhaps people do not really want to have their kith and kin, or themselves, carved up at the soonest possible moment.

    The prospect – and the reputation of surgeons – of being ‘dismantled’ before one has truly breathed one’s last, is just too much of a possibility.

    At the moment, where one ‘opts in’, at least there is some measure of ‘having acted charitably’, but force all to accept that donation is ‘the right thing to do’, and we are immediately in the realm of Orwellian State ownership of our bodies, with even the warm feeling of having acted charitably, being removed.

    Surely, if you really don’t care what happens after departing this mortal coil, then sign the card, and carry it at all times, even tell your Doctor that that is your decision, – and good for you, but if you have doubts – then that is also your decision not to avail yourself of the spare parts option.

    One suggestion that may spur the carrying of donor cards, would be that should you need an organ replacement, then it will only be available, – if you have yourself, signed a donor card, – perhaps at least a year or two previously. That would at least stop those ‘late signers’, from queue jumping.

    I daresay some ethics committee will find fault with that idea, – but then maybe not, they obviously have no objection to ‘general grab’ mandate…

    Subject for next year’s speech, – "Eugenics, and how it should be used for the benefit of all in the Twenty first century".

  2. I urge this post to try and get a copy of the 1970s film ‘Soylent Green’. It’ll never get on TV. No chance.
    It’s a futuristic look at New York, where Charlton Heston spends the nights barricaded in his house, shooting at black-hooded menaces that roam outside looking for prey, while Edward G Robinson becomes a ‘willing’ victim of govt-enforced euthanasia, hungry for human organs.
    It’s a ripper.

  3. Bernard.. i ve seen that film a number of times on telly in 70s and 80s (admittedly not since).
    What leads you to believe its been withdrawn now?

  4. GUDONE: Purely on the grounds of it’s ‘hidden’ content.
    It was over 30 years ago I saw it,but if you recall, dissident protest was dealt with by shoveling rioters up in government bulldozers where their fate was to be converted into the scarce resource, food, called Soylent Green.
    People were encouraged to give up and die, to keep society operating for an elite group of people, the govt.
    Society had also polarized into a streetwise sub-species that terrorized the the city, while ‘ordinary’ citizens (Carlton Heston) were left to fend for themselves.
    The allegory was all too obvious, and, knowing CHs extreme right-wing views (chairman of the NRA, I think), such a film would be too close to reality, and comfort, for these days.
    I maybe wrong; what say you?

  5. yeah, the allegory is striking.
    when was it last screened on UK TV?
    if it is so long ago..maybe you’re correct in your assumption.
    That other Heston film.. The Omega Man, where he is fending off the medieval-like psycho-zealots and their supremacist delusions….sounds rather prescient too (re: a certain "diverse" community).

  6. Bernard,
    Soylent Green is one of my fav sci-fi films.

    Of course it will be shown again! It was on tv a couple of years ago!

    As an atheist, humanist and pragmatist. I think this a very good idea.

    There is NO rational reason why we act possessively over dead corpses. It’s down to superstition and irrational sentimentality IMHO

    However if you are in the minority against this then you should be free to explicitly withdraw it.

  7. Somebody on The Times site makes a very simple but effective point

    "It saves lives, and those who don’t like it can opt out. This should have been introduced years ago."

    Richard Milne, Edinburgh, UK

  8. "if you believe in the theory and practice of transplantation,"

    Mike what the hell are you talking about?! There is no "transplantation theory".

    It works. And there’s people DYING because of shortages because of relatives "dont like the idea of the body being chopped up".

    I fully appreciate the immense hurt and pain the bereaved feel, but the properly educated would not get angry with doctors trying to save lives by suggesting organ donor.

    Would you like to die because someobody else is repulsed by the "idea" of organ transplantion???

  9. It’s indicative of a trend in modern politics of awarding the rights of ownership of just about everything to the state. If the default status of you yourself is that the state has a right of ownership over you, how can we possibly consider ourselves to be little more than serfs or slaves? If the state can do that, why not decide that 100% of everything you earn goes to the government, unless you opt out? Think of all the lives that could be saved with all that money!

    The worrying thing is that some people might actually think that’s a good idea. Some people (usually the sort of people who think advertising is evil because it alters our free will) seem to believe that nobody has any right to free will.

  10. Obviously you guys are so busy on the internet that you do not get time to watch the tv anymore. Soylent Green was on tv fairly recently; within the last couple of months at the most, I forget which channel, may have been Film Four. I remember thinking when it came on that I must stay awake until the end this time as it is always shown so late! Didn’t manage it!

  11. As far as I’m concerned "they" can do whatever they like to my corpse as long as they don’t do it in front of my family. What good are your organs to you when you are dead? If you use a religious argument against me then as far as I am concerned your point is automatically null and void.

  12. I presume the taboo of chopping up dead people for their organs goes way back into pre-history and elaborate burial rites….the body was considered the Temple of the Soul.
    That still holds fast today in civilised societies.

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