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Warning: This post was published more than 9 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 9 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

This decision over one’s own body is for the conscience – the conscience of individual citizens in this country. It is not for this Parliament, by free vote or other vote, to impose upon them a requisition of their bodies after death for the state.

So said John Reid, a little over three years ago. It would appear that Gordon Brown now disagrees. And, for once, I agree with Reid.

I have no moral, religious, or ideological issues with organ donation, and have been a registered organ donor for several years. I do, however, have a strong objection to the proposed suspension of the idea of informed consent – a guiding principle of modern medical practice.

There are so many deep practical problems with the idea of presumed ‘consent’ – not least of all that presumed consent in such a context is realistically no consent at all, and that once a mistake has been made, it cannot be undone.

But, most of all, we’re skipping steps. We’re going from a situation of maintaining a relatively little-known and little-promoted organ donor register to presumed consent, without trying anything in between.

For appropriate candidates, it should be made a legal requirement that relatives are asked about organ donation as part of the death certification. This would immediately increase the number of donations, as doctors are poor at asking such questions for fear of embarrassment, insensitivity, and upset. As a standard legal question it would be unavoidable.

This would be a simple, non-controversial measure that could be put in place very quickly and would increase the number of viable organs available for transplant.

Why don’t we give it a go?

This 1,255th post was filed under: Headliner, Health, News and Comment, Politics.






More posts worth reading

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What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd April 2017)

Roses are #FF0000 (published 11th February 2005)

The new Guardian (published 12th September 2005)

Daily Mirror: Gettin’ down wiv da kids (published 11th July 2007)

How ‘The Inbetweeners’ was created (published 19th April 2013)


Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 22:59 on 16th January 2008.

My wife and I are both organ doners.
If a part of either one of us can help someone else, we have done a good thing.
But this is something which should be a personal decision.
We do it because WE want to.
Not because a federal agency says we have to.
I can see a move to encourage organ donations.
But it should never be government decreed we must.
How far is big brother going to go?


Comment from Jess


by Jess

Comment posted at 17:28 on 18th January 2008.

i was outraged when i heard this, i am totally the other end of the spectrum from u guys, and ryt now at this moment in time, organ donation makes me feel sick (dont get me wrong this is coming from someone who would happily take an organ from someone else if i were dying) and therefore i am a hypocrite on this subject
i totally admire people for giving consent for there organs to be taken for medical research, or to save somebodies life, and im not aginst it at all, infact, if it came to be that i ever needed to have an organ from somebody else, to save my life, i would register to donate my organs as a matter of priniciple, and respect and thanks, eventhough id feel sick signing my body parts away.
Taking away the need for consent is ridiculous and goes against human rights!
If u need to make a legal request to keep your body attatched together after the event of your death, then so be it, ill go and see a solicitor today, and would then un-do it if i ever felt the need to repay medical science…..which i doubt will happen anyday soon.
I’ve got little to none belief in medical science, even tho my uncle is a biochemist and medicinal scientist and was part of the team that developed one of the cancer cure pills for breast cancer everyone is raving about.
Im not gonna mention the company name or his name.

but on the other hand, the same medical science that is creating cures, told me id lost my baby, and my body thinks its still alive, but i havent, and my baby is fine, told my 8 month pregnant mother that everything was fine with her soon-due son, after writin notes that no heartbeat could be found, and the baby was born dead. Mum tried to sue, but to no avail.

Instead of trying to take away our rights to tackle the decreasing numbers of people giving donations because no1 has any faith in our health service, why not tackle the problem head on, and ask themselves Why has no1 got any faith in our healthservice? and why does no1 support it?


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