Human Exceptionalism

Hunt on for Disabled “Euthanasia Organ Donors”

It’s sackcloth and ashes time. 

Belgium is really gearing up its euthanasia followed by organ harvesting regime–and apparently the transplant medical community has no moral qualms. In fact, it has become so morally ho-hum, that it was the subject of discussion at the 21st European Conference on General Thoracic Surgery held in the UK in May.

It’s all just peachy keen. From the Abstract (0-099) of “Lung Transplantation with Grafts Recovered From Euthanasia Donors:

January 2007 and December 2012, 47/350 (13.4%) patients received pulmonary grafts from controlled DCDs [donation after cardiac death], including 6 (1.7%) after euthanasia in accordance with state legislation and approval by Ethics Committee. Patients suffered from an unbearable neuromuscular (n = 3) or neuropsychiatric (n = 3) disorder with explicit wish to donate organs. Euthanasia was executed by an independent physician in a room adjacent to the operating room in the absence of the retrieval team.

Did you get that? One set of doctors killed the patient, stepped out of the room, and another set of doctors entered for the harvest.

Now, the hunt is on for mentally ill and patients with disabling conditions such as MS to become “euthanasia organ donors.” 

Euthanasia donors accounted for 12.8% of all lung DCDs. Immediate post-transplant graft function and long-term outcome in recipients was excellent. More euthanasia donors are to be expected with more public awareness.

In a better world, increased public awareness would cause universal public revulsion.

I can think of nothing more dangerous than making mentally ill and despairing disabled people believe their deaths have greater value than their lives. Well one thing, perhaps: Having a society accept the idea that it can benefit at the expense of people in desperate need of care–and whose care is very expensive.

 

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