Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Organs Dying

I have been following the drama from Pinellas Park. This is a tragedy for more than two families who are at opposite poles as far as their wishes concerning the outcome. True facts are largely missing since no recent, up to date diagnostic tests have been allowed. The judiciary and the original doctors do not wish to find out if their original opinions could perhaps be wrong if there is some awareness and cerebral ability left.These two families have their supporters and polls have been taken to determine what the "so called majority" of Americans believe about the right to die. The need for living wills are often mentioned along with the fact that people do change their minds as to what the outcome of serious illness/injury they ultimately want.
If this healthy young woman is truly brain dead with a totally flat EEG, she would be a perfect donor given her relative health and young age. Many families could see their loved ones survive life threatening illness if given a functioning, healthy kidney, liver, heart and lungs, and even an improved life by restoration of vision due to a healthy cornea. I have not heard anyone protesting allowing these organs to die in order to help others. One wants the finality of death to end a marriage so he can continue on with his life and perhaps legitimize his common law marriage and children. His recall of his wife's wishes seven years after the prolongation of her life seem dubious to me since so much time passed before these wishes were announced. The other family wants the young woman to live in her current state rather than let her go home to her Lord.
As a person who received the gift of a cornea from a young woman who died. and the aunt of a young woman married to a man who will die if a heart transplant is not found in time, I can only think of those who were so selfless as to sign a donor card. I do not wish to lose my own son, but I am thankful he signed a living will many years ago and we have discussed his wishes as to organ donation. At my age, my organs are no longer desirable for transplant, but if there is a use for any part of my body that could benefit others, I would much rather the organs be harvested and less thought about maintaining a body that no longer functions as it has over my lifetime.
I am sad for Teri, her immediate family and even for the husband who either subverted his wife's wishes years ago or is doing so now. I am however even more sad for
the patients who will die waiting for organs that are currently undergoing failure because of the letter of the law being followed with no true judicial review except that procedures were followed correctly and the needs of all involved with the outcome to the dying individual. While Teri's parents would suffer the loss of their daughter even if she had been an organ donor, her death would not be as meaningless as it currently is.

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