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- Factual information might be outdated.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.
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?