The Joys of Socialized Medicine: You are an Organ Donor by government orders.

Starting today in Venezuela, you are presumed to be an organ donor according to a new law. (link to the news item in Spanish.)

According to the Law for Organ Donation, Human Transplants, Tissues and Cells, if you have not made clear to the authorities via a notarized document or registration in a .Gov website your desire not to be an organ donor, it shall be assumed that your body can be harvested for organs without having to ask the family for permission.

All your organs belong to us!

It is Brave New World.

25 Replies to “The Joys of Socialized Medicine: You are an Organ Donor by government orders.”

  1. From Wikipedia:
    “Over 100,000 Americans are on the waiting list in need of an organ. This crisis within the United States is growing rapidly because on average there are only 30,000 transplants performed each year. More than 6,000 people die each year from lack of a donor organ, an average of 19 people a day.”

    That’s the problem. 6,000 people dying every year due to lack of available organs in the US.

    “For example, Germany, which uses an opt-in system, has an organ donation consent rate of 12% among its population, while Austria, a country with a very similar culture and economic development, but which uses an opt-out system, has a consent rate of 99.98%”

    Opt out Donor lists allow those who feel strongly that their death should feed worms rather than saving lives to avoid becoming donors. In the meantime, the many people who don’t care one way or another about their donor status, and thus wouldn’t bother to sign up, become donors.

    In most countries (both opt-out and opt-in), the family of the deceased can overrule the deceased’s wishes and stop the donation process. In fact, in opt-in countries, since the deceased’s wishes are generally not known (or not recorded), their next of kin can cause their organs to be donated even if the deceased did not want their organs donated.

    In any event, it looks like in Venezuela, the rule is that any indication that the deceased did not want their organs donated will bar the procedure, likely including the wishes of the family. (And, for accuracy’s sake, they’ve got a phone number you can call, in addition to registering online or keeping a legal document.)

    Organ Donation is the difference between saving a life (or a half dozen) or feeding worms after you die.




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  2. If the concept of a government owning your body by default is something that does not trouble or scare you, any further explanation I may give would be a waste of time.




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    1. Point to where I said anything about the government owning anything.
      Point to where I said anything about bodies as opposed to corpses.

      Opt-Out Donor registries have no effect on the ownership of either bodies or corpses. They do not override the deceased’s wishes, nor the wishes of their families.

      Most people do not care what happens to their corpse after they are finished using it. Those people who do care can opt out. The overall result is saving thousands of lives every year and improving the quality of life for tens (or hundreds) of thousands of seriously ill people.

      Statistics show (see the Austria vs Germany example) that most people don’t care about their donor status and are perfectly fine donating the organs from their corpse, but they’re too lazy (or they don’t want to think of the subject) to actually sign up.

      Maybe a “Required Choice” System would be better than either opt-in or opt-out. In such a system, at a certain time (most proposals are for things like tax forms or driver’s license applications), you are required to choose your donor status. There’s no presumption either way, but it helps eliminate the problem of people simply not choosing their donor status (be it due to laziness or avoidance of an uncomfortable subject).

      Finally, the doctor’s making the diagnosis of death are generally hospital physicians (most Hospitals are privately owned and operated). The Transplant team consists of hospital physicians (ditto). The recipient’s transplant team consists of hospital physicians (ditto). The whole operation is generally paid for by private insurance.

      The only place where anyone related to the government gets involved is the UNOS, which is a Congressionally Chartered Nonprofit (like the Boy Scouts) who handles allocation and record keeping.

      So, since (just about) the whole thing is carried out by private corporations, I fail to see how it could be interpreted as the Government owning anything.




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    2. Just to point out, the content of that Monty Python sketch indicates that (like real Britain), they’re operating under an Opt-In system.

      Indicating, of course, that the chance of murder-for-organs is not different between the opt-in donor model and the opt-out model. Which, I guess (you haven’t given me much to work with here), would indicate that your stance is to oppose postmortem organ donation entirely, due to the perceived risk of murder-for-organs*.

      More importantly, we mock the hoplophobes for their refusal to make reasoned arguments on the matter of gun control. Why are you refusing to make a reasoned argument on this matter? Is it because you don’t have one to make?

      *There are numerous countries with Opt-Out or Automatic donor registries. If the implementation of those types of donor registries lead to murder-for-organs, I’m sure you can find some evidence of a relationship.
      China doesn’t count. Their (likely forcible) use of the organs of executed criminals is a whole different subject.




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    3. In what way is the issue of Constitutional carry relevant to a discussion of organ donor registries?

      Do you support the transplantation of organs from corpses to critically ill patients in order to save the lives of those patients?




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      1. You do not see the correlation? Except in a few states, our freedom to carry arms is subjected to the Government’s regulations. In order to carry a gun, we must “opt out” from the Government laws that preclude carry unless we follow certain rules that give us a temporary “right” to carry.
        Now, that a Government decrees that unless you opt out, your body and its internal organs are the property of the state after your demise is pretty much a colossal invasion of privacy. The default should be that the Government has NO business on saying how my organs should be disposed off and not the other way around.




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    4. At what point in the process carried out entirely by private entities does the government assert ownership over anything?

      Changing the donor registry from opt-in to opt-out allows those who do not want to have their organs harvested to clearly indicate their preference in a manner easily and quickly accessible by physicians at a time when there’s not much time to spare. In fact, an Opt-Out registry reduces the likelihood of your organs being harvested against your wishes (as your family cannot consent in your absence when you’ve positively opted out).

      Again, a better solution would be an enforced choice (you can choose whatever donor status you want, with no presumption, but you can’t avoid choosing).

      Everyone has a right to decide how they want their corpses to be disposed of, it does not follow that they should be able to avoid confronting such a choice. Especially when their avoidance costs thousands of lives every year.

      What “opt-out” provisions are you talking about in Gun Control laws?

      Comparing a requirement that you *say something* if you don’t want your corpse to be used to save lives to the onerous requirements impinging on our rights to carry is ridiculous. And that’s all a properly maintained donor registry requires.
      In AZ, opting-in is a box you check when getting your driver’s license. What changes if the box is pre-checked, or you’re forced to choose yes or no?

      Again, the primary reason people don’t donate their organs after death is that it takes effort. People with objections to donation are able to opt out with little effort (and prevent postmortem misunderstandings by their family), people who don’t care enough to put in the effort are able to donate, and the people who want to donate don’t have to make any effort. The lot of all 3 groups is improved.

      Finally, if you’re claiming that an opt-out registry (you can opt out at any time, your family can opt out at any time, you’re most likely going to die in ways that render your organs useless for transplantation) represents the government seizing your corpse, you’re better off arguing a violation of the 4th Amendment’s protection against unwarranted seizure. But again, there aren’t any government actors in the transplantation process, so…




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      1. Dan, I am amazed to say you have managed to revise my stance on Organ Donation. Next time I’ll renew my license I may have to uncheck the organ donor box seeing that you seem a bit too ghoulish about my insides.

        At what point in the process carried out entirely by private entities does the government assert ownership over anything?

        Did you even read the post?




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    5. If you’ve decided that your discomfort with a discussion of an opt-out organ donation registry has rendered you uncomfortable with opting-into organ donation, then I’m sorry to hear your charitable impulse is so fickle.

      Unfortunately for you, since the US has an Opt-In Donor Registry, it is possible that your next of kin will erroneously remember that you were a donor and assume that your wishes still included donation. In that case, since there’s no uniform way to indicate that you do not want to be a donor, you would become a donor against your will. And that’s the problem with Opt-In registries.
      The lack of a clear, accessible way to indicate one’s inclination against donation makes it likely that some people who emphatically did not want their organs transplanted will have their organs harvested and transplanted. I think that’s a bigger ethical problem than the possibility that the presumption that you are willing to donate your organs to save lives leads to… what, exactly? I’m not clear on what you think will happen to patients in an opt-out system. Austria’s had one for many years. Can you find any evidence that that system has lead to worse patient outcomes? Any evidence that your implied slippery slope is, in fact, slippery or slopey?

      In the US, most hospitals are privately owned. At what point in an operation conducted entirely by private hands has the government claimed ownership of anything? If it’s so clear what point that is, why don’t you point it out instead of passive-aggressively telling me I’ve missed something.

      By the way, Venuzuela’s public healthcare system provides for better health outcomes for the population than the rest of South America. Most of which only has private health care available. Venuzuela also has a robust private healthcare system which provides hospitals of similar quality to US hospitals.

      Again, your OP indicates that you did not carefully read the article you linked (there being 3 different ways to opt out), so telling me that I haven’t read the same arcane meaning into it that you have (without telling me what meaning you’re reading into it, or what part you’re reading that meaning out of) seems silly.

      I’m a practical person. Knee-Jerk anti-government sentiments aren’t particularly compelling to me. You trust the government to protect your life and your health every day in dozens of ways (from water you drink from the tap,* to the roads you drive on, to the safety of any food you eat). With an opt-in system, you trust the government not to simply add you to the donor rolls. What actual negative effects do you expect to see from a change in the way you register your wishes vis-a-vis organ donation? There are a number of countries that have been opt-out for a number of years. What evidence can your present that indicates the negative effects your predict actually occurred?

      *The safety and quality control of Tap vs Bottled water is a wonderful example of the government providing a far superior product at a lower price than the market is willing to provide.




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      1. By the way, Venuzuela’s public healthcare system provides for better health outcomes for the population than the rest of South America. Most of which only has private health care available. Venuzuela also has a robust private healthcare system which provides hospitals of similar quality to US hospitals.

        And here I was thinking you actually knew what you were talking about. Venezuela’s health care system is so collapsed that you can pretty much say is back at 1940’s standards. Tropical diseases that were pretty much controlled (and unknown in urban areas) by the 1960s are back with vengeance. Public hospitals routinely shut down for lacking the basics like medications, bandages and even cleaning products to sterilize ORs. Personnel has not been paid in months but cannnot quit because they would lose what they have accrued and survive on the Venezuelan equivalent of food stamps (Cesta Ticket.) Sepsis is a common occurrence at public hospitals and they pretty much tell patients that once they get operated on, they are better off heading home right after surgery if they want to survive.
        One of the much touted programs to bring health care to the barrios, the Barrio Adentro program is pretty much dead. Cuban “health care specialists” were brought in to tend to the barrio patients but in fact they were but glorified nurses assistants with little medical knowledge. At the begining they had trouble keeping the cuban personnel because the first chance they had, they made a beeline for Colombia to escape the regime. After Cuban security service people were brought in to control the defections, they were faced with another problem: You see, barrio people do not take kindly that you fuck up medical care and they will let you know their displeasure usually with gunfire. After several Cubans were killed for their malpractice, the Barrio Adentro services were moved to very few and very government controlled areas with heavy police protection. They are still crap but the Government will not accept such a colossal failure.
        As for private hospitals, once they were very good and filled with very prepared individuals, but after the government decided it was time to heavily regulate prices, most doctors simply quit and moved out to other countries were they could actually make a living. The few that remain are so overworked that if you were to call right now for any appointment, you’d be lucky to get space within 8 months.

        And before you go on a rant saying I shouldn’t be reading anti-Chavez sites and get my facts straight, I should tell you this info comes first hand from my relatives living down there and my mother that just came back from a 4 month stay during I had to ship her meds from here via courier. Basic stuff like enalapril, a high blood pressure medication you can get at WalMart for $10 for a 3 month period is basically impossible to find down there.

        So, to summarize this long and polite rant: Shut the fuck up. You have no idea how bad is down there. Why the fuck is Hugo Chavez going to Cuba for treatment if the quality of Venezuelan medicine is so good?

        God,please spare me from Useful Idiots.




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    6. Did I say Venezuela’s public health care system was good by US standards? No. I said it has resulted in better healthcare for the people of Venezuela that the people of other South American countries. The fact that everything you describe is [i]better[/i] than the situation in other South American countries indicates that socialized medicine isn’t the problem.

      But this isn’t really a discussion of the virtues and perils of socialized medicine.

      This is a discussion of the merits of Opt-In vs Opt-Out donor listings.




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      1. “No. I said it has resulted in better healthcare for the people of Venezuela”

        And you had to double down on stupid. No, healthcare under Chavez actually is worse than in pre-revolution times. Only useful idiots and hard core Chavistas would think otherwise.




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    7. “No. I said it has resulted in better healthcare for the people of Venezuela that the people of other South American countries.”

      Here’s what I actually said. Selectively quoting me to alter the meaning of my words is dishonest and, I would have hoped, beneath you.

      So, what actual problems do you expect to see stemming from an Opt-Out donor registry, and what evidence do you have that indicates that the problems you expect have actually occurred in countries that have longstanding Opt-Out donor registries?




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      1. And triple down on stupid…. get it through your thick head: HEALTH CARE IN VENEZUELA IS WORSE NOW THAN PRIOR TO CHAVEZ.
        No if, buts or maybes.

        I am done arguing with this particular idiot.




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    8. Try again, I never said it wasn’t. I said that Healthcare in Venuzuela is better than Healthcare in other South American Countries (and South America on average).

      We mock the hoplophobes for trying to sidestep arguments to focus on irrelevancies. Why are you letting yourself fall into step with them?

      Regardless, it’s tangential to the discussion we were having of the virtues of Opt-Out and Opt-In donor registries. I wonder why you keep harping on an argument *I didn’t make* instead of discussing the topic at hand.

      I’ll try again:
      What actual problems do you expect to see stemming from an Opt-Out donor registry, and what evidence do you have that indicates that the problems you expect have actually occurred in countries that have longstanding Opt-Out donor registries?




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    9. So, are you saying that you can’t think of any problems you’d expect to see caused by an Opt-Out donor registry?

      If that’s the case, why are you opposed to it?

      If that’s not the case, what problems do you expect to see, and can you point to examples of those problems from countries who have longstanding Opt-Out registries?




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      1. There are two sentences that run deep chills down my spine: “I am from the Government and I am here to help you.” and “For the greater good.”
        Add to that the complicity of useful idiots and we have a 5 star recipe for social engineering.

        Now, you have bemoaned about lack of suitable organs for transplant and that people die because of it. But rather than admitting the colossal failure of spreading the word and educating people on benefits for the community of organ transplant, you chose to have it imposed by the Government. Oh yes, you can “opt out”…..for now. But how long will it take for that to be eliminated in favor of a mandatory organ donation? I mean, you won’t need your organs after you are dead, right? Who cares what they do to them? It is for the Greater Good!
        Now, if your organs are mandated to be used once you are no longer alive, it will be your responsibility to keep them in good health so a needy person can be assured he/she will not have extra complications after the transplant. The Government once again will have to intervene to make sure you don’t partake on things that may degrade those organs to be harvested from your body. Do you really need that 16 Oz. soda? Too much sugar there Bubba, that ain’t good, Same goes for salt, saturated fats, smoking, lack of exercise, etc. We must impose further regulations for the greater good on what your lifestyle should be like.
        Opt Out is simply the nose of the camel being allowed inside the tent. It is admitting that you (and I include Organ Donor groups & movements) have failed miserably on delivering the message and have decided to obtain your goals by governmental fiat rather than education. The end justifying the means to coin a phrase.




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  3. Far more important to me than the fate of my body AFTER my demise, I was under the impression that if you’re classified as a donor, the surgeons are more likely to declare you deceased and harvest you for organs than to try and keep you alive.

    I don’t care what happens to my organs after I’m done with them. Until then, I’d prefer to keep using them, as I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure they’re they’re well-maintained.




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    1. So far as I know, there’s no evidence that doctors do any less to save a donor than a non-donor. And, with an opt-out system, the critical shortage of organs might be relieved to the point where any possible incentive to do so would disappear.

      Besides that, the point of organ harvesting is to save the lives of critically ill patients. Killing someone to save another person would be just a little bit counterproductive.

      Besides that, if you don’t trust your doctor to do everything possible to save your life regardless of donor status, why do you trust them to respect your wishes vis-a-vis donation?

      http://www.snopes.com/medical/emergent/donor.asp
      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organ-donation/FL00077




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    1. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ148/pdf/PLAW-111publ148.pdf

      Quick Ctrl-F results in 0 hits for “organ donation,” 10 hits for “donation” (none related to organs), 442 hits for “organ,” 0 hits for “organ ” or “organ.” (indicating that those 442 hits are for other words that include “organ” in them, like “organization” [427 hits]).

      Feel free to check the text for any hidden surprises you suspect. I’m surprised that you don’t know the contents of the bill you oppose so vehemently.




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