Daily Archives: October 20, 2008

Are you an organ donor?

Not this little black duck. One reason is that I really think that to take body parts out of the dead is an act of disrespect to the body. Another is that I think it buys into the whole idea of thinking of the human person in their physical aspect as a machine (and the dead body – or the living but unborn body for that matter – as a junk yard for spare parts). But certainly there is also this: the practice of taking organs from donors who are (in the words of Monty Python) NOT DEAD YET.

There was a conference held on this in Rome a few months back, but now this morning’s edition of The Age reveals that one Dr James Tibballs has raised the ire of the transplant industry by publishing an article in the Journal of Law and Medicine suggesting that there is often undue haste to remove organs before the donor is strictly speaking “dead”.

One of the major issues is, of course, what does “dead” really mean? Is “brain death” just a legal fiction? It was on the matter of “brain death” that the Rome conference reflected. And, of course, organs have to be “alive” (in a sense) to be of any use for transplanting.

What do you think? Are you a donor? Why? If not, why not?


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