"I've always thought this a terrible precedent. Bodily Autonomy, the idea, that you get to decide what happens to your body, is one of the most inalienable rights I can imagine. While this does not completely negate that concept, it introduces the idea that the government now has that right, unless you assert it." comment on:
WHY DOCTORS WILL NOT LET YOU DIE IF YOU’RE A REGISTERED ORGAN DONOR
THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH: A common abbreviated interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath is “First, do no harm.” In other words, the patient in front of a physician is their top priority. A patient’s death in the ER happens because all ethically possible lifesaving efforts have been made, but the trauma was too severe.
THE EMERGENCY ROOM PROCESS: In an emergency, physicians, nurses and other EMS workers don’t have time to even check a patient’s name—let alone their donation registration status, assuming it’s even shown on their ID. They work hard and swiftly to stabilize a patient. That’s it. Further, registered or not, becoming a donor is rare. Less than 1 percent of people who die in a hospital setting are even eligible organ donors since a donor needs to be on a ventilator and die from brain death or circulatory death.
DONOR REGISTRY CONFIDENTIALITY AND THE ACCREDITATION AGENCIES: The entire donation process is subject to auditing, on both the clinical and administrative sides. An important factor is the handling of personal information. Therefore, it’s not possible for medical professionals to know with certainty a donor’s registration status until donation is even in the realm of possibility and the donor registry gets involved.
COMPATIBILITY COMPLEXITY: Once organ donation is deemed possible, there are countless variables that add to the complexity of realizing that donation for transplantation—from donor to recipient. These variables include clinical and physiologic variables, such as: overall donor health and organ function; social and medical history; size the of patient; size of the organs; and blood type. They also include logistical variables, such as: allocation policies; geography; hospital services; and transportation.
TRAUMA DOCTORS’ SEPARATION FROM TRANSPLANTATION AND THE ALLOCATION PROCESS: Assuming somehow, someway a doctor knew your registration status—what good does that do? This doctor has no control in the donation process once you’re declared dead. As stated above, a trauma surgeon is separated from the process of transplantation. They are not involved in organ or tissue recovery, they don’t contribute in any way to histocompatibility testing, and the organ placement is handled by United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), a national nonprofit. UNOS is the link between donors and recipients. Following national laws and policies, the allocation of organs is done with the help of a computerized network that identifies transplant candidates in ways that save as many lives as possible.
Please register to be an organ donor. On average, 20 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. One deceased donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and can save and enhance more than 100 lives through the lifesaving and healing gift of tissue donation.