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January 6, 2009

Euthanasia and Organ Donorship

HEALTH/ENTERTAINMENT - SPOILER ALERT!

If you haven't seen the film Seven Pounds yet I have to warn you this may spoil some of the film for you.

You know how euthanasia (aka mercy killing) is illegal in the United States? Well, what if the terminally ill person also wanted to donate their organs, their blood and their bone marrow?

Well, in the film Seven Pounds Will Smith's character ends up donating his organs (including his heart and his eyes), his bone marrow, etc. to a list of people that he finds and determines whether they are genuinely nice people.

The drama film is also high on the tearjerker scale. When looking at crowds of people leaving the film theatre there typically isn't a single dry eye... So gals, if you want to find out whether your boyfriend is the sensitive type, take him to this film.

The film also raises an interesting philosophical and moral question: If a person wants to commit suicide or euthanasia and donate their organs/etc. to save the lives of other people, who are we to say they can't do it?

In the United States 33,000 people commit suicide per year (11 per 100,000 people/year). Imagine for a moment if they were instead 33,000 heart donors, bone marrow donors, eye, liver, spleen, lung donors... it could save or better the lives of hundreds of thousands of people per year.

Suicide is a waste. We're not disputing that. But how much more wasteful is it for people to kill themselves and NOT leave their organs to better the lives of others?

In my wallet I carry an organ donor card. I've been carrying it for years. I have no intention of getting hit by a truck any time soon, but I keep it there in the event of something like that happening by accident.

You can also specify on the card what body parts you don't want to donate (ie. your eyes) in the event of your death. Eyes/etc. are popular ones if you want to have an open casket at their funeral, although technically your eyes are closed anyway when you're in the casket.

I personally like the idea of giving a person my eyes after my death so that they can see for the first time. Or the myriad other people who are given a chance to live again.

See also:
Suicide Entertainment
Military Suicides in Canada

1 comment:

  1. Over half of the 100,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

    ReplyDelete

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