I am absolutely overwhelmed by the number of reactions I have received by email on my blog about ‘Donate your organs, Yes or No?’ My email inbox is working overtime and I am afraid that I cannot respond to each and every one of you personally, I take this opportunity to say a big thank you for your feedback and your time.
The reactions were interesting to say the least. I have tried to categorize them into several sections. I cannot go into each and every comment; there were literally hundreds of emails.
* By far the biggest, is the section of people who are undecided. They find it difficult like me I think, to actually make a decision of such magnitude. A lot is ‘mind over matter’. It is the idea when you think rationally about it, which makes it hard to decide. Someone told me about an article they had read where people who were announced as being brain-dead, had organs removed but knew about it and felt the pain. That is shocking to say the least. This is something we have to take seriously. Even though we know the importance of the time factor after death and removing and replacing the organs as quickly as possible in the people waiting. There is a huge difference between being ‘brain dead’ or ‘heart dead’. I looked it up on the site. Being brain dead means there this is no brain function but the rest of the body is still working, breathing, heart beating, and blood going around the body. In contrast to being heart dead, when life has literally ended. I would advise everyone to have a look at this on the Internet site if you are having trouble making up your mind.
* Another group talked about the idea that they did not want to have another person’s organs in their body that they would actually prefer to die. Not many people said this but a group of you did. One of the things people mentioned was infections or disease in the organs transferred. Was the blood removed from the organs properly before use? What if there were the first signs of cancer developing in cells in the organs being used?
* One section talked about only wanting to confirm being a donor and donate their organs to people who were only donors too. I respect this choice, whether it is right or wrong I cannot comment.
* Of course there was also a large group who were already donors themselves and wished to continue to be so, even donating their entire body to medical science.
* A lot of people commented on the financial aspect of organ trading, from country to continent. This was something they felt strongly about and was a big issue in decision-making. They definitely did not want to be a part of this.
* I also received a great reaction from a doctor who is a friend of mine. This was an interesting comment and very worthwhile to mention. Looking rationally at the question purely in the role of the professional, then the more organs there are to donate and use, the better, as their job is in fact to cure people and improve their quality of life. True. But on a personal note, yes definitely for loved ones, and having seen the results of said transplants in patients then the gift of life becomes even more apparent and overcomes any personal doubts.
This person kindly reminded me, about a brilliant doctor here in Holland, from the Amsterdam Medical Centre, who is now the CEO of 5 academic hospitals in London actually took the step of donating his own kidney to an anonymous patient with kidney failure. Wow this is impressive and I think quite an important message to us all! A very loving deed.
One thing that I am quite confused about is the fact that if you decide to donate your organs, the people in your family have the final say? I have not yet seen the official documents yet, but doesn’t this really defeat the whole idea? If someone really wants to make a contribution to helping someone else but the relatives say ‘no’ in the end, I see this really as not respecting their wishes. Do you? Tricky question I agree. Also a decision, which is made when emotions are high.
Of course this has been a discussion in my own family over the past few days and we still haven’t come to any form of decision. This is a question that you really have to think hard about and take the time. Important though to be clear with one another what your wishes are. Even though you may not want to talk about it, do!
Whether you decide yes or no it is a very personal and private decision and one, which everyone has to respect, I feel. The age is from 18 years and there is no age limit.
I wish we could see more about cell stem therapy coming up because the results with this are incredible. Why don’t we make it obligatory that everyone has stem cells put aside? I just happened to read in this morning’s paper that it is now possible to make new teeth grow using stem cells. Amazing! The mind boggles about all the other options in the future. A huge amount of progress has been made over the last 30 years or so, so maybe invest more into this work? To me this seems a more natural way. Why not take cells or blood automatically from the umbilical cord instead of just throwing it away as medical waste?
Is this maybe not the way forward too? I know very little about this subject to be very honest but I thought it was quite relevant that this crossed my path too!
Again thank you all very much for all your responses. Most appreciated!