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Are you an organ and/or tissue donor?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 31, 2005

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Photo of David Noyce

“Yes. I hope that someone would do the same for me.”

Photo of Christina Kuhn

“Yes, I am, because if I can’t use something, I want someone else to be able to.”

Photo of Shaun Roberson

“I’m not. I guess the thought of someone taking my organs out just freaks me out a little bit, even if I’m already dead.”

Photo of Alec Joler

“Absolutely, because it’s life, and if I’m dead, it doesn’t matter.”

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ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

sunflower sue - I am so happy for you and your hubby and your children. I pray you have many, many more years of happiness together. God bless you dear lady.

gccs14r 12 years, 11 months ago

I don't want potential profit to cloud a surgeon's judgement. If people were ethical, I'd have no problem being a donor, but there's no guarantee that the ethical guy would be the one trying to save me and I'd rather not die for a Ferrari payment.

William_Rothgraeger 12 years, 11 months ago

Nice post ceallach... I donate my organs, but am in favor of socializing health care like you (sounds like).

I think proper health care should be a right, not a priviledge (of the wealthy)... maybe this way, we can weed out all the FDA scams, when there isn't such a capatalist incentive to make money, rather than save lives...

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 12 years, 11 months ago

Yes. My father in law received a lung transplant about twelve years ago, and had almost five more good years. He was actually out on a backhoe working two days before he went into the hospital for the last time. His donor helped seven people. Two of them to see, the rest to live. Our family will always be so grateful to him and his family for making that choice.

gccs14r 12 years, 11 months ago

"All transplant surgeons, various doctors, nurses, hospitals, various therapists, etc., must work for no profit?"

That's not what I said. I don't object to profit per se (and I certainly don't object to a person earning a living, which is what you're really implying), but the potential for kickbacks exists that could leave me dead when I didn't have to be.

simple_simon 12 years, 11 months ago

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kansas 12 years, 11 months ago

Extreme........Part of me wants to ask you what your post means.........And part of me doesn't! LOL!

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

extreme: My understanding is the concern over the transmission of BSE extends to organ donation. I would consult a physician first, however, since I'm not certain of this.

wichita_reader 12 years, 11 months ago

It covers it indeed, Ms_Canada. Thank you. Now to Fanghorn's links.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

"blame the atkins diet " I never thought of offering that excuse before, macon47. I think I'll use it sometime. Of course, I'll have to try the diet for a day or two to give my excuse some credibility.

Yes, I will donate anything the doctors think they can use. If I'm dead, I certainly don't need them anymore! i_thing's right that donation is better than letting everything decompose. What a waste when others could be helped.

flashd423 12 years, 11 months ago

HELL NO. i dont want no one cutting me up in my grave.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

Fellow posters. Please consider the possibility that there are two sides to the question of organ donation. All I hear today is very one sided. I am neither committed to the organ/tissue donation program nor signed up to donate upon death.

Denying your body parts to the general public should be something we have the right to control. However, I see that slipping away. The medical community's marketing of transplants has been tremendously effective. Now there is a stigma attached if a person chooses not to be a donor. Soon you will have to provide a justifiable excuse to retain your body parts after death. On today's board I am hearing it referred to as a "waste" and "the right thing to do," meaning those who do not donate are doing the wrong thing. Talk about civil rights violations!

A close family member needed and received a heart transplant. In retrospect I think he should never have been a candidate. But he had very good insurance coverage and the transplant took place. He lived over 4 years, sounds good, right? Wrong! Within a few months the effects of anti-rejection drugs started taking a toll on the other vital organs. Over the next four years he gradually and painfully (mental and sometimes physical) deteriorated.

He was never able to return to work. Side effects of the medication also have an effect on many recipients mental health. Such effects badly damaged his relationship with his children and grandchildren. The children tried but as he became more irritable it was difficult for them to expose their children to his sudden fits of anger, depression, etc.

After his death the children suffered guilt along with their grief. Due to the many medical, pharmaceutical and disability related bills his wife had to take bankruptcy (after refinancing their home to the max did not cover enough). She still works two jobs to stay in her home and provide assistance to a child that was disabled as a teenager and continues to need help as an adult.

We seldom if ever hear about scenarios such as his family has endured. Believe me, they are not a rare exception. Only the successful transplants are ever lauded. I am truly happy for those who gain healthy, productive years due to a transplant operation. But I do not intend to become a donor and be part of the program wherein unqualified patients can receive a healthy heart because he or she has insurance to cover a major portion of the doctor and hospital bills.

Check out the price tag someday. It is overwhelming and disturbing considering the amount the recipient must cover. Do not be deceived the main qualification for a transplant is good medical coverage. He had to pass that test before doctors or hospitals would even consider him as a candidate (not his heart's condition).

My children know my feelings and I believe they will honor them, regardless of the flack they will receive for being selfish with organs that might help others.

William_Rothgraeger 12 years, 11 months ago

Chris Rock said donating organs is for people with absolutely no faith ;)

squishypoet 12 years, 11 months ago

I think a lot of people get the sticker on their driver's license, but never bother to have people sign and witness on the back. And even if they do, I think that family consent is given preference.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 11 months ago

Ho-lee crap! I don't think many gals appreciate offers for "organ donation". Just a thought. On the other hand, I don't often try. Get enough liquor in me and it's a dare.

DID YOU KNOW? Not only is gin a great narcotic, it also induces temporary heterosexuality! Lasts about two to four hours. Use with caution.

Regarding the question... I had the "DONOR" sticker on my license but I peeled it off after a horrible daydream where an EMT pulled my lifeless body out of a burning car and snipped out my vital organs right there at the scene of the accident.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

Hey guys - don't get upset with me but I just gotta tell you this. My good man came home last nite with the schedule for the new baseball season with a new team for our city, the Edmonton Cracker-Cats. And guess who is on the schedule, Kansas City, as well as Sioux City, Io. my father was born in Iowa) I am sure going to go to those games. I am so excited. Imagine, your state and my province together on the diamond!! Oh yes, the question of the day, I have not signed an organ donor card. They never wanted my blood, they may not want my organs either. Some stupid thing wrong with my blood. NOthing life threatening, though.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

bob - I mentioned before that your city and mine are oil cities. Well, in the production of gas there is a process called cracking (you probably know this) My good man just told my about the name. The cracking is done with a catalytic converter. Hence the name. Neat eh!! (my sister always teases me about the use of "eh" she says we Canadians use that a lot) That is what he told me. I know boom all about it. Interesting name, though. Maybe you can tell us more about the process, bob.

Terry Bush 12 years, 11 months ago

If there had been a "spare" kidney 44 years ago, my baby sister might have lived. Instead, she died at age 11, because donors were so rare. So not only have I signed up to be a donor, and had it witnessed, I am making darn sure that everyone who knows me understands that when I breathe my last breath, I want anything usable harvested. When I am dead, I'm not going to need this body any longer, and it could help someone else to live (or see, or have a better life). Giving someone else that chance is a way to go on living yourself, in memory if not in heaven! As for worrying about eager beavers taking an organ too soon, if we rule out pure murder, if you are so far gone already that it's even being considered as an option, do you really want to stick around in a body that is mostly gone? Finally, the "I woke up in the bathtub with a note" stories are largely urban myth. Don't let fear and ignorance keep you from doing the right thing.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

William_R: If you remove the profit motive from the picture, the quality of healthcare in the US will drop like a paralyzed bird. Companies will not produce the many life-saving, life-enhancing medicines at the same rate they do today. There is a reason the vast majority of new medicines are developed in this country. And if doctors didn't earn a very high salary, the number of people willing to endure the rigors and hardships of becoming one would be drastically reduced. I encourage you to recognize the many benefits we receive from our capitalist system.

melissamouse 12 years, 11 months ago

I'm thankful someone donated their corneal tissue so that I could receive a cornea transplant in March. I thought it would bother me to have a deceased person's cornea, and wouldn't you know, a couple days before procedure I saw a crazy movie called Deadly Visions!, but the only part that bothered me was after the procedure; the ongoing healing process for which I see no end in sight yet. Pardon the pun.

William_Rothgraeger 12 years, 11 months ago

Fanghorn. While I understand the concern over socializing health care, there is little evidence that the step would cause medicinal quality to decrease.

Take the tragic Phen-Fen example. The drug appeared before the FDA panel in '95 and was turned down. In '96 it appeared again before a panel that was 100% made up of current and former workers of American Home Products (the manufacturers of Phen-Fen) and passed. The doctors that objected later reported that they had received death threats, discouraging their participation on the panel. Now, tens of thousands of deaths and the explosion of PPH -heart disease that kills- and AHP has to pay $11.2 billion for their foreknowledge of this fatal complication.

This is not an isolated incident, Vioxx, a newer drug, is under similar scrutiny for their possible FDA panel manipulation and death list that may be as high as 27,000.

In short, I'm saying that orchestrating health care in our nation's current way of doing it may not be encouraging quality medical products and practices, but instead encouraging making money where for some companies people's lives are acceptable losses.

Health care as is, is not working in my opinion when the uninsured are sent home from hospitals with potentially fatal consequences, when there is something the hospital can do. It's not working in my opinion when a company adjusts how much money a drug will make them against the costs of lawsuits and settlements they will have to incur when the drug is inevitably recalled and decides it's worth it to market the drug.

I believe constructing health care this way does not encourage the best medicinal practices, but the best businessmen to invest their pursuits in health care. This should not be.

As a proponent of capitalism in general, I think our nation would be the better for socialized health care.

enochville 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn - At first I thought the profit drug manufacturers made was absurd. Then, I heard the argument that years ago that you mentioned that investments follow profits, therefore if we reduced the profits drug investors could make they would take their money elsewhere. Agreed; but now I disagree with the next part of that argument, namely, with the investors' money gone, we would not have the great breakthroughs in medicines. I have heard of a good book that dispells that idea. Only the tiniest of fractions of the money the drug companies make are used in research. Much used to go to physicians by way of drug reps through dinners, exotic trips, sports tickets, etc. The idea was if we treat you nicely, you'll prescribe our drugs more often. The federal government has now outlawed the most egregious bribes, but drug reps still spend a lot on doctors. Then the drug companies found out it was more effective to market directly to the public. So we see very expensive ads on tv and in magazines and doctors are given free samples to give to their patients. But, the majority of the money goes back to the investors. The bottom line is research isn't nearly as expensive as drug companies want us to think that it is. So, even if we lost many investors by legally reigning in profits, there would still be enough investment return to fund the development of new drugs. It sickens me to see the poorest of the poor be ground down by extreme prices for medications their doctors say that they need.

I am for a relatively free market with some government regulations and oversight. Purely free markets create monopolies that can charge outrageous prices that effectively deny services and products to the majority of people. In saying that I am not saying plasma tv's should be affordable for all, but food, electricity, basic medical care should not be priced beyond reason just to statisfy the greed of a few. If we were heartless, we could let people who are on social security who can't afford the medicine they need go without it and suffer in pain as their bodies deteriorate. This would be a Darwinian society of survival of the fittest, which is great if you're on top, horrible if you're not. I feel a moral responsibility to help the less fortunate. Drug prices can and should be lowered. Let the profit margins be restricted like interest rates are (that certainly didn't put the lending agencies out of business). Where research is needed that the market doesn't take an interest in, let the federal government subsidize it.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn: Of course the ability to make a buck is going to drive the healthcare industry. Nobody wants to spend that much time in school and have to take out a second job to make the bills (can anyone say "teacher"). However, I don't believe that there are that many necessary new drugs being developed. I think that the pharmaceutical industry has the healthcare industry in their pocket.

Think about it. Every time you turn on the tv there is some advertisement for some type of medication that needs to be prescribed by a physician. But don't worry - side effects are mild and may only include your eyes falling out, fire coming out your behind, and exorcist-like episodes...but, hey, that headache you have will be gone. Of course, in order to go to the doctor you have to have insurance or else you'll need to "donate a kidney" in order to pay the bill for seeing them.

Why are their prices so high? Well, my father's dermatologist told me that he had to pay $10,000 PER MONTH in insurance because he employs a woman that had a heart problem. Add in the cost of living in our litigation-happy society and what do you get? Screwed...each and every time you go see the doctor.

William_Rothgraeger 12 years, 11 months ago

I agree, Enoch.

Capitalism was intended to promote business. Capitalism works well enough in a market w/ competing interests, etc. But pulling this idea into health care does not necessarily favor as well.

I like the idea of hospitalizing whoever needs it. And prescribing drugs that actually help, rather than the richest drug company that did nothing more than prove themselves as the most economically intelligent.

That's just my little take on the situation...

raven 12 years, 11 months ago

Enoch, WR and HKP, I agree with the three of you. It is a shame that not everyone gets the appropriate medical care they deserve. If you don't have insurance you are in a lot of trouble (financially and healthwise). Also, I too have a problem with taking meds that the side effects are worse than what I was originally suffering from.

I understand why Dr.'s make so much money, I think they should make an adequate living considering they are caring for the rest of us. However, I would hope that many people would still go into medicine even if it did not make so much. As HKP mentioned teachers do and so do Social Workers. They have a passion to help others. It is my hope that Dr.'s have this same passion, not just a passion to make money.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago


Also socializing health care works for me. Hopefully this would cut back on paper work and obscene CEO salaries as well as allow the doctor on the job make all the decisions regarding care needed at the moment.

Nose jobs or other cosmetic dermatology for the sake of making one more beautiful would be paid by the patient.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 11 months ago

Absolutely! (I have already donated a couple of children and I were certainly done with them.) All the hype over selling organs does not scare me.

My entire family knows that if there is anything worthwhile left of my body...give it away! I certainly won't be needing it anymore! (I don't want my empty shell put in some over-priced box to rot underground.) If some doctor makes a decision to pull the plug on me because I'm a donor, so be it. We all have a time to go and I believe that only God will let us go when it's time. If He lets the Dr. make that decision...well, then it'll be MY time!

My Aunt was a donor and it thrills me to no end that there is a young man out there, somewhere, that is seeing the world through her eyes (literally). What an awesome thing to do for someone! It doesn't cost a thing and it's a win-win for all involved.

Melissa, I know someone who has had corneal transplants and did very well, indeed! I hope you make progress quickly.

On our healthcare system: We are soooooo fortunate to live where we do (USA). Almost 3 yrs ago, my very YOUNG and HEALTHY hubby had a major stroke. (10 on the 1-10 scale). Subsequently, they found a huge hole in his heart. Because we live where we do, he was able to get a very expensive shot of TPA (worth every penny) and on to St. Luke's where they went up an artery in his leg to patch the hole in his heart (also very expensive...let's not mention that helicopter flight bill!) BTW, the Doc that teaches this surgery to the world practices at St. Lukes! You will NEVER hear me complain about how much all that cost!

Today, you would never even know he went through all that. And clearly, it wasn't his time to go! Someone was definitely looking out for him that day!! (But had it been his time, I wouldn't have thought twice about donating his organs, as it is his wish.)

William_Rothgraeger 12 years, 11 months ago

Congrats on your husband's health! He received the Tissue Plasminogen Activator shot?

If that's what he received, then he is very lucky to have been diagnosed as heart attack/stroke victim within three hours of the attack. And yes, this is an example of an avenue of medical research where the U.S. in particular excels.

wichita_reader 12 years, 11 months ago

I've debated socialized healthcare with my conservative friends repeatedly. Their main argument is that it will lead to the rationing of services, longer waits for medical procedures, and a general decline in the quality of healthcare.

Last fall while vacationing I spoke with two families from Alberta, Canada (both of which sat on the conservative side of the political spectrum), and no one had any horror stories or concerns with Canada's healthcare system.

Ms_Canada, if you are so inclined, I'd like to hear your two cents on the state of Canadian healthcare.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

The effects of socialized medicine in Canada and other nations have been thoroughly studied and documented.

Regarding its effect on new drug development, I refer you to economist Thomas Sowell.

Regarding the effects of Canada's healthcare system on the health of our northern neighbors, I refer you to Walter Williams.

Regarding people entering the field of medicine, no matter the income we will always have people willing to run the gauntlet to become doctors. But paying off the massive loans usually necessary to attend med school requires a high income. And thanks to charlatans like Jon Edwards, malpractice insurance can cost over $100K a year, also necessitating doctors to make loads of cash.

We don't need to experiment with socialized medicine to discover its effects. Other countries have already degraded their healthcare systems enough for us to see.

raven 12 years, 11 months ago

Fangorn: I agree Dr.'s should make a lot of $$. I respect what they do and am glad they are here. I personally would not want to be a Dr. but I am glad someone does.

However, don't you think that everyone should be entitled to health care? No system is perfect I understand that, but many many people out there simply cannot afford health care. Is this how things should be. I would say no!! Everyone should have health care. Health Insurance should not be so expensive!

neopolss 12 years, 11 months ago

A socialist system pretending to be capitalistic does not work. The most likely choice is elimination of insurance altogether, which is your largest factor in driving up costs. As the spread of coverage grows, so too are the costs going to grow. When the recipient no longer pays for coverage of procedure himself, and instead is covered by a pool of payees, what's the reason to keep cost low? Insurance simply becomes a medical mastercard. Keep paying and paying with no end in sight.

Relinquishing the hold of insurance allows power back into hands of the consumer, and forces industry to either create more affordable care or go belly up.

Socialist systems play on your fears, that you might grow sick and have a HUGE bill, with no hope in sight. It's made you to believe you NEED it, when you don't.

Now I understand that you could not eliminate it overnight, but by turning people away from the insurance industry, I hope many will see that the problem is correctable. I'm sure there are pros for social healthcare, the problem becomes those who drain away at the system, and the quality of care dropping.

Socialism is not the way.

BunE 12 years, 11 months ago

There is only one side to this. Harvest everything for the living, the dead do not care. In fact, mandate that every viable piece of a body be recycled. Who cares if momma can't see her baby off into the unknown? There are more important things to worry about. Like life.

Don't like it? Than only registered organ donors can receive donated organs.

To those of you making completely riduculous comments about socialized medicine, it does not matter if it works or not, just like their pensions, the big companies will pawn off their healthcare obligations to the taxpayer in order to be profitable. (maximize shareholder value) First up: GM.

Single payer is coming! The fortune 500 is clamoring for it. They don't want to take care of the people that do the work. The Gilded Age of the 21st century is here!

The people will figure it out soon enough. Conservatism will lose...again.

Townhall is a hack website.

Whoa! I needed that rant.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

wichita reader - this subject has come up before and I have shared so will do so briefly now. As far as insurance coverage, I think our system is perfect. The premium payments are deducted from our pay chegues. They are not high. The employer contributes also. The insurance is run by the government There are federal guidelines that must be followed such as universality. Equal treatment for all. If you are retired or don't have a paycheck, you must make the payment yourself. Seniors have a very good coverage as even our Blue Cross premiums are paid for us. B.C. covers medication cost and other stuff. So what is covered? dr. visits, hospital stay, X-ray, all tests like CT-scan, MRI, ultra sound, emergency room treatment, ambulance? I am not sure about that. We really like the aspect that there is no worry about that part of it. We are covered and that is it. For seniors like my husband and I the quarterly premiums are $246, that is it. Prescriptions never cost more than $25 (for sen.) Now for the down side. It is not perfect. The average wait for knee replacement is 16 months. It can take up to 5 months for ultrasound or longer for MRI's. This is ridiculous. We need more doctors, more hospital beds, more MRI machines. And as fangorn has pointed out, I do believe there is more money for research in your country. We are poor on research here. But mostly, I think people are satisfied with the system. Hope that covers it.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 11 months ago

Will_Roth, Never knew what TPA stood for...just knew enough to know that there was some miracle "Clot busting drug" and that it had to be given w/in a certain time frame (3 hrs or less is best). I called ahead to the hosp. to make sure they knew what they had coming in and to make sure they had the drug. Where we live, 911 is sketchy so thank the Lord that He put my hubby w/ me when it happened (even though he was driving at the time) and that I can recognize a stroke when I see one. (Also, thank the Lord that I didn't kill anyone driving him to the hospital at 90 mph). My hubby normally would have been out working (alone). We cornered the market in miracles that day!!!!!!!!!!!

My hubby will be 39 on his next birthday. That's 3 more years he's had with his daughters. (And me!) : )

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

BunE: Is Stanford a "hack" university? How about George Mason University? Because that's where Dr. Sowell and Dr. Williams teach, respectively. And what do you think of the Univ. of Chicago or UCLA? Where the two of them, respectively, earned their PhDs in economics? Are these schools, in your opinion, "hack" institutions? The last I checked the Univ. of Chicago has one of the most prestigious schools of economics in the world. And UCLA is one of California's top-tier universities.

Both of these men have studied the issue of socialized medicine. Both are imminently qualified to evaluate its performance in the real world. And in the real world, it certainly does matter "if it works or not". Their unequivical conclusion is that socialized medicine does not work. Our capitalist system, with all its flaws, all its shortcomings, still provides a better level of healthcare. If you care to refute the conclusions of Drs. Sowell and Williams, please provide contradictory data. Merely calling a website that links their columns "hack" falls woefully short in the arena of debate. But I suppose it may not matter to you if your substitute for arugment "works or not" either.

gccs14r 12 years, 11 months ago


I'm sure that the tobacco companies hired doctors from top-flight schools to "debunk" the studies that show how harmful tobacco products are. Just because someone has a PhD from a fine institution doesn't mean that he isn't being paid to push an agenda that isn't in the best interests of the People.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

gccs14r, you correct that biased studies can present skewed data. We all saw it happen (whether everyone noticed it or not) in the controversy regarding silicone breast implants. Global warming is another area where those producing all the "chicken little" studies have a vested interest in perpetuating the hysterics surrounding it and driving the policies alleged to remedy it. My point to BunE is that merely calling names is not a refutation or even an argument. If you or she has any contradictory data or studies to cite, do it. If either of you have some direct evidence that suggests their conclusions are tainted, present it.

gccs14r 12 years, 11 months ago

ms_canada seems to be pleased with her health care. Most of the Western countries have socialized medicine and their citizens are not burning their politicians in effigy to get them to abandon it.

Some Americans mention wait times as a reason to not have it here, but my argument for that is that it's better to have to wait one's turn than to be denied care for the crime of having been born poor. Another argument frequently made is that medical research will stop, but from reading the news, most new discoveries are made elsewhere already. As far as I know, the last major breakthrough in the U.S. was in medical billing software that automatically inflates the cost of everything to match Congress' max annual Medicare payout.

As for global warming, even BushCo has finally come aboard. No one with any credibility is saying that we're not affecting the climate in an adverse manner. The only argument is what the adverse effects will be, and that will depend on what happens to the Gulf Stream as Greenland releases billions of gallons of fresh water into the ocean.

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