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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Post-Death Issues and Organ Donation

"Opt-Out Organ Donation Schemes" by Vexen Crabtree (2002)


"Funeral Ritual Instinct" by Vexen Crabtree (2002)

The Not a Donor Card has long been a good idea. When people die, their healthy organs can be used to save others, unless they carry a card to say they'd rather let others suffer. There is no humane reason to de facto deny others your own healthy organs, once you are dead. There should be European-wide legislation to make all of Europe a donate-by-default region.

If peoples' religious or cultural delusions lean them towards social malefaction, then, they can carry a "not a donor" card, to exempt themselves from the moral duty to help others. By allowing these exemptions, the scheme is more likely to be implemented. Then, later, we can remove this exemption. Only religious extremists and confused individuals will oppose it, once the scheme is seen as a success all over Europe, not just in Spain.

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My mortal remains are not some sort of fleshy spare-parts-bin to be plundered by the State after my death.

OTOH I'd have no problems with Ebaying my parts post-mortem, with the funds so raised being utilised in accordance with terms & conditions defined in my will.

Death is the most pressing of problems, especially for those who wish to remain alive... there is no greater tragedy than the loss of life.

But once you are dead, your organs can help others live... your spare parts are not to be plundered, but they CAN be used to save life.

Indeed, I think that the morality of saving a life is great enough to override the once-existant moral concners of the recently deceased.

And hey, if you want to sell them in advance, so be it, sell them to an organ depository (none in the UK, though!), and get an exemption, and write on the back of your Not a Donor Card that your organs have been sold!

I totally agree, I have a donor card but it got lost, but my next of kins all know I'd like to donate whatever they can find that still functions!

When I worked at the funeral parlours I was disguted at the low amount of people who donated organs. These are organs that will ultimatley get burned or buried, yet could save a life.

One woman donated her whole body and we buried what bits of her they sent back, which is a bit gross, but I'd be up for that level of donation too.

I get a bit anxious about the idea the government could have that amount of control over your body, but an opt out will sort out that area.

Otherwise we'll continue to have people die needlessly or organ failure and a disguting trade in imported body parts of murder victims.

The current system is crap - alcoholics who have had several new ones and refuse to get help to recover are given yet another liver because they're higher up on the list than people with liver cancer who have had none. That balance needs to be redressed.


"3.2.1 Alcohol-induced liver disease A history of excess alcohol is relevant in regard to potential or actual significant damage to cardiovascular and neurological tissue, or to the risk that patients might revert to alcohol abuse or might not comply with medication or follow up schedules and thus damage the new liver. A multi-disciplinary approach is required to select patients who are likely to comply with follow-up and not return to a damaging pattern of alcohol consumption after transplantation and may include psychological/psychiatric assessment. Appropriate follow-up strategies may be needed."

So it looks like they're assessed on a case-by-case basis - and anyone who has a history of alcohol replase would most likely not get given another new one as you suggest, especially if they'd already been given one transplant already, and then gone back to the drink.

With regards to the cancer - there's decent medical grounds for not transplanting with patients who suffer from certain types of cancer due to the large probability of it re-occurring - particularly in conjunction with immuno suppressant drugs.

"3.2.7 Malignancy Where potential liver allograft recipients have suffered from previous extrahepatic malignancy, the decision to proceed for liver transplantation should depend, in part, on the probability of malignancy recurring following liver transplantation. Some immunosuppressive agents may encourage the growth of malignancy. Patients should be considered in the light of section 2.2. With patients with primary hepatic malignancy, there are agreed criteria which predict a high probability of tumour persistence after transplantation: these include number of lesions, size of lesions, portal vein involvement and spread outside the liver capsule. Most data suggest that more than 3 liver tumours with a maximum diameter of 5 cm indicates that hapatocellular cancer is likely to persist following liver transplantation and the criteria in section 2.2. will not be met. However. These criteria are under regular review and a slight expansion, using the UCSF criteria, may be appropriate. The role of interventions that shrink the tumour (such as chemoembolisation) remains uncertain and extension of the conventional indications should be done in the context of agreed studies. In general, those known to have cholangiocarcinoma are not appropriate candidates for transplantation."

I would not like to see this bought in as a european measure because it is at it's heart a very spiritual question and for europe to go in to that area in such a way would give so much properganda to the Anti-euro lobby as to blow it apart. It would be good to see all countries choose for them selves to impliment an "Opt out" donation sceme.

I would though very much object to your second paragraph. I do not concider my physical body to be the property of anyone other than myself and I concider that to be the case even after my death. Power over myself is the one thing I concider myself to have a total right to and for me it would be a step to far for the government to take that away. It would be one liburty to far. I do not mind it being assumed I want to donate unless I say otherwise. That way I still have the choice and for what it's worth I have already chosen to donate and opted in, but I concider that choice my right and mine alone and concider that everyone else also has that right.

Yep. And I think masses of people would have a problem with having to opt out too. However, I think an opt-out system would be far better than the one we have.

You can't remove the opt-out though. People have to be able to make their own choices about some things, and their own bodies is one of them.

I think that concern for the living should override the now-irrelevent physical self-concerns of the dead!

Imagine if a religion became popular that caused its adherents to shun burial? They could use the same argument ('their own bodies' etc), and it would simply have an unacceptable effect on the living. I think the case of organ donation is the same; organs can save lives, and I think that is more of a moral concern than any attachment dead people think they might have with their dead bodies.

After all, as we cremate more people than we bury, surely there can't be that much opposition to reducing the ash pile, and allowing others to live?

I would be morally opposed to anyones' moral oppositions! I can't see how there can be a valid justification to cause one person a day to die whilst on organ donation waiting lists, when the solution costs nothing, and even means less carbon oxides released into the air (as less corpse mass is burned)!

Indeed I think we are already seeing the arguments wheeled out against an opt out system. and they don't seem to hold water in my oppinion. I have heard one tory politician say "Opting out is no choice at all" and go on to claim that most would be to scared to opt out for fear of what people would say, but is they don't care enough to fill in a form or what ever is the system then I would suggest that they obviously don't care that much about what will happen to them after they die.

My one concern is that the system must be orgaised enough that when people die if they have opted out thier body parts are not taken by mistake. I am quite sure such a system can be organised, but it is important for peoples belief in thier own liburty that robust and sensible system is built in to the legislation to enact an opt out system.

I agree apart from the removing of the exemption. It is a basic human right to have control over what happens to your own body! It is pretty selfish to deny permission to your organs but people shouldn't be forced into having their parts taken. That's stealing. With the not a donor card the vast majority of people who die will be available for organs anyway. I don't think the small amount who disagree with donors for personal or religious view are going to pose a problem. Certainly not worth sacrificing peoples freedom over.

I think the Human rights (and possibilities) of the living have greater weight than the neurotic wishes of the no-longer-living. I don't think you can morally or legally justify arbitrarily letting people die. Or, that *should* be the case.

People have all kinds of moral objections to all kinds of things (e.g., some people are morally opposed to clothes, some people opposed to washing, some people opposed to nakedness, and most opposed to disease)... out of this confusing mess, it should be apparent that some moral wishes have to be ignored.

For example, the Christian Right is morally opposed to abortion... surely, this massive overriding of the rights-of-the-living should translate easily into overriding of the rights-of-the-dead for the sake of the living?

I can see many strong arguments for default (and almost-compulsory) organ donation, but not any moral or logical arguments against!

Where dose one draw the line I wonder. THink of all the resorces you have and do frittered away on fun and comfort when they could have gone to preserving life? Think of all the time you spend relaxing or out having fun when you could be out there aiding the cause of saving lives?

When your life is structured such that you are saving every life that your time and resorces alow you to prehaps then you have the right to complain when people want to exercise the basic human desier to determin what happens to thier own body.

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I like that system. In terms of saving lives, the following I think, so far, are most effective:

1) All corpses have their working organs salvaged, so that they can all save other lives.

2) An opt-out scheme allows exceptions to (1), so that most organs can save lives.

3) Your system: Driving licenses contain a note on postmortem disposal, so, many more people say yes, than at present.

4) An opt-in system, which saves far too few people. (The stat I heard: one person a day dies whilst waiting for an organ that would save them)

I hadn't thought of (3) until you said that about USA driving licenses.

organ donation is far more complex than you think. as a satanist, dont you suspect any sinister implications or possibilities at all in the implementation of this? Or are you playing devil's advocate? i dont get your trust in the system on this matter.
why assume spain has a good system? animal rights, franco, inquisition, opus dei....
future(or present ) medical possibilities may make systematic state control of body matter incredibly dangerous for the citizens. body matter is a profit making industry. the state may just be enabling itself to cash in or to legalize activities it already practises.
the questions are too endless and unanswered to proceed with this. what would the state do with reproductive matter obtained by default? why are the sick entitled automatically? do you know who these sick people are? are they robert mugabe, tony blair, a top surgeon, a person who's life of dissipation has ruined their liver?
cosmetic surgery is not the world apart from other medicine that you may imagine. what are the systems real intentions and motives and the service it intends in the cause of provision of materials for lifestyle surgery for the "entitled " among us. managing/controlling/administering the system is whose role?
Administratve overempowerment and inherent dangers to the citizen's human rights are a good reason not to legalize default donation. the system cannot be trusted. they cant handle their current level of default power in this area. it is incredibly dangerous to believe they have our best interests in mind and we would have to ignore all accumulated knowledge about human behaviour and the behaviour of the state to do so.

Re: organ donorship

I see no sinister implications.

(1) It doesn't matter if individual countries have "good systems" for the management, storing, distribution, of organs. But, most European countries have comprehensive and regular health industries which have been managing organ storage & distribution well for a number of decades.

(2) You said "state control of body matter incredibly dangerous for the citizens", but don't forget we are talking about dead citizens. The state cannot possibly make anything any worse for dead people. On the other hand, when state body-management systems break down (morgues fill up, cemetaries fill up, cremations stop), the disadvantages are far, far greater. Bodies strewn on streets are the cause of major epidemic and serious illnesses; all post-war and post-disaster environments are incredibly dangerous due to the water-bourne illnesses caused from untended rotting corpses. Government intervention is essential for the good of everyone; it makes little difference what the government chooses to do with the bodies. Mostly, they are cremated, which is a waste.

(3) The medical industry's job is to save lives; in good hospitals, they will do this and it doesn't matter whose life it is, nor the crimes the person has committed. So, war-crimes prisoners are still given treatment. It is not the job of the medical profession to choose who is 'worthy'. But, the only problem at the moment is shortage of supply, meaning that people end up on waiting lists and have to be prioritized. This is the present weakspot in the system, because it allows an element of human judgement in placing people on the lists. If organ donation was default, there would be less chance for human corruption, as no-one would have to be put on the bottom, or top, of lists.

(4) Managing the system, at the moment, is done by professional medical companies, hospitals, etc. Organ donation is not new. The present system has not suffered from abuse, I see no reason to see that an enlarged system would be worse.

You keep talking about "trust" etc, but I cannot possibly see what you are talking about. No rights are infringed (dead people are, by definition, dead - what's the government going to do, stop them voting or tap their phone lines?), and I can't think of what possible "abuses" of the system you are talking about. If organs can be sold, then fine, if they are used, that's fine too because it saves lives. Some organs are used in medical research at universities: that is also fine.

What are you scared of? What rights do you think the government is taking away from dead people, which aren't already taken away by the present laws on disposals of bodies?

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