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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Wales OKs “Presumed Consent” Organ Harvest



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The NHS is melting down. Patient care is in an abysmal state. And what does the Senedd of Wales do in this distrustful and dangerous atmosphere? Sow more distrust by passing a “presumed consent” to organ harvesting law. From the BBC story:

Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a system of presumed consent for organ donation. After five hours of debate in the Senedd on Tuesday, assembly members voted in favour of the change. Some 43 voted in favour, with eight against and two abstentions. It will give doctors the right to remove people’s organs when they die unless they have registered an objection.

I am an organ donor on my license. We have an “opt-in” system–meaning your organs can’t be taken without explicit consent–and I trust my wife to ensure that I am really and truly dead before organ harvesting commenced. But if CA had a presumed consent law, I would “opt out” and ask my wife to opt me back in if I were truly dead. 

Why? I don’t trust presumed consent. Why? Blame the current atmosphere of health care. 

In this day of cost-cutting and utilitarian “quality of life” judgmentalism, a PC law makes it too tempting for medical personnel to (almost unconsciously) look upon the catastrophically ill or disabled as so many organ farms instead of patients with equal moral value. (I mean, look at the mess with the Liverpool Care Pathway, meant to ensure proper palliation, but which actually led to back door euthanasia!) 

In other words, presumed consent carries with it the very real danger of reducing some patients into the status of valuable natural resources to be exploited for the benefit of others. 



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