Human Exceptionalism

Restart Patients Hearts for Organ Harvesting in the Land of Rationied Care!

Ai, yi yi. The UK rations care and allows doctors to refuse wanted life sustaining treatment. And now, it appears headed to a “presumed consent” for organ harvesting, meaning that to not be a donor, one must formally opt out.  First, the story deals with a proposal to allow bodies of patients declared dead by neurological criteria to be sustained pending harvest—the problem with which I don’t see if the patient has been legitimately declared deceased. After all, we allow cadavers to be experimented on.

Here are the parts that I am concerned about. From the Daily Mail story:

The BMA backed a system due to be introduced in Wales in which a patient is presumed to give consent for their organs to be used  unless they have expressly said otherwise.

Criticism: Professor Nadey Hakim has described the proposal as unethical

The BMA says ‘safeguards’ will prevent people being disadvantaged by an opt-out scheme, for example if the family objects.

Yea, we have heard that line before. Safeguards are made to be broken.  This would mean that doctors could force people off of life sustaining care and then harvest their organs.  And the notion of separate medical teams would be meaningless because the team forcing the patient off of treatment would know that unless he/she had opted out, the organs will be taken.

And get this!

It calls for other options to be explored such as restarting the hearts of people who have recently died so they can be used in transplants.

If the patient was declared dead by neurological criteria, there would be no reason for the heart to stop, which is why they are known as “heart beating cadavers.” If declared death by heart criteria, and the patient is rescusitated, the patient isn’t dead!

And get this, squared:

Other ideas include using organs from higher-risk patients such as  the elderly, and guidelines for using  the hearts of babies aged under three months who have no chance of surviving.

Before they have died?


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