Organ donor forms now to go with licence renewals

johnboy 4 August 2008 72

Katy Gallagher has proudly announced that from now on when you renew your licence you’ll also have an organ donation form pushed your way to remind you to think about the issue.

    The ACT Government will now be able to distribute Australian Organ Donation Register (AODR) Forms with driver licence renewal notices through Road User Services, the Minister for Health Katy Gallagher MLA announced today.

    The Minister said that the changes had arisen following an approach from a member of the community late last year suggesting that this might be a strategy to increase organ donation rates.

While no-one outside of fringe nutters is actually against organ donation I can’t help but notice that people get extremely resistant when they feel they’re being badgered on the topic.

Anyone remember how the sight of Kerry Packer calling for more organ donors created a drop in donations?

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72 Responses to Organ donor forms now to go with licence renewals
blueberry blueberry 10:04 am 06 Aug 08

So you are a qualified transplant doctor are you then?
I’m pretty sure your kidney that may be a little over weight is still going to be a whole lot better than none to a person suffering kidney failure. You never know what they can do these days.

PeraPHon PeraPHon 9:17 am 06 Aug 08

I’m not an organ donor. I’m overweight and I know that my organs would be declared non-viable, so why bother to give something that would just be rejected?

Special G Special G 7:55 am 06 Aug 08

I heard the other night on the news only 47 people were listed as donors in the ACT. Given Mrs G and I are both registered I thought this might have been incorrect. All you need to do is fill out a form in medicare to get listed. If more people have the form and reply is prepaid then there might be more people willing to register.

gun street girl gun street girl 11:04 pm 05 Aug 08

An inclusive debate? With somebody who quotes ACA articles as evidence…? The reason I’m not wasting my breath is because your comments have hardly invited an inclusive debate – you’ve merely tar-and-feathered an entire profession based on the actions of a few bad apples. If I had a dollar for every time somebody’s trotted out sentiments akin to yours, I’d be retired by now. Throw out something more than a few lines reminiscent of The Daily Telegraph, and then we might just have that debate. Until then – ho hum – yes, all the doctors are closing ranks, they’re all out to get you, and they’ve all got a hidden agenda. Call Scully and Mulder – it’s a conspiracy.

Granny Granny 11:04 pm 05 Aug 08

jakez said :

Your loved one is not worth a 60k loan?

This is not Yuppieland, Jakez. In the real world, who is going to loan a sole parent on the pension $60K to save their kid?

johnboy johnboy 10:55 pm 05 Aug 08

RiotACT’s first girl-fight (to my knowledge).

And not one piece of personal abuse, I’m so proud.


I-filed I-filed 10:53 pm 05 Aug 08

Well, a self-serving, closed-thinking system is fated to necrotise and fail, gun street girl. No wonder the medical profession is in trouble. If you are only interested in the ‘insider’s view’ you probably need to take your thoughts to a closed forum for such insiders and not trouble readers on this one, who expect an inclusive debate!

gun street girl gun street girl 8:12 pm 05 Aug 08

Again, I’m not interested in debating the point with you. If you want to draw dogmatic conclusions from what you’ve seen on ACA and the like, go right ahead – I’ve no time for slanging matches with people with little objective insight into the industry. My posts here are more for people who’d like an insider’s view (Woody – no offense taken, matey).

I-filed I-filed 6:39 pm 05 Aug 08

gun street girl, you are very naively assuming no gap between the rhetoric and the reality … no conspiracy theories needed. By the way, the Tasmanian hospital sexual assaults were not made up. Those were professors of medicine …

jakez jakez 1:31 pm 05 Aug 08

Belles said :

Belles said :

Your loved one is not worth a 60k loan?

Not saying their not worth it, just saying that it may be hard for some people to get it/cover it. If I needed to have that amount of money to save my loved ones life I would do anything I could.

And I do agree it is the supply that definitely needs to go up. From general conversations about it people don’t think about it so don’t complete the form. People need reminders to be aware.

I absolutely agree.

Belles Belles 1:20 pm 05 Aug 08

Belles said :

Your loved one is not worth a 60k loan?

Not saying their not worth it, just saying that it may be hard for some people to get it/cover it. If I needed to have that amount of money to save my loved ones life I would do anything I could.

And I do agree it is the supply that definitely needs to go up. From general conversations about it people don’t think about it so don’t complete the form. People need reminders to be aware.

jakez jakez 12:46 pm 05 Aug 08

Belles said :

In regards to buying and selling organs, ifpeople in Australia are having trouble covering the cost of living then only the rich will get transplants and organs and the people not as well off will continue to struggle or not get anything.

Your loved one is not worth a 60k loan?

Perhaps we could start a benevolent charity, purchasing organs for those deemed worthy. Perhaps we could contract with someone, an employer for instance, upfront payment in exchange for a term of work. No different to the ADF ;-).

As it stands, it’s hardly better now. The rich are the ones that can afford the overseas trip. We have so little available organs right now, it’s the supply that desperately needs to go up.

Belles Belles 12:26 pm 05 Aug 08

On the original topic: I am origanlly from NSW and when I first got my licence there was actually a tick box on the licence application form asking if you wished to donate organs and what organs you were happy to donate. The it would say on your licence if you were a donor or not.

I think that it is a good idea because it is there and it is not a separate form to complete and people don’t forget about it. Truthfully I actually like the idea of making it mandatory and being able to opt out if you choose.

I also think that family members should not be able to renege on a decision that is made by the person who has passed. If I decide to donate my organs and whatever else it is my choice and I don’t really think somebody else should be able to change that in my opinion. Myself and my partner know each others wishes (which are the same, to donate) and i will not go against his decisions. After seeing a program on SBS we actually decided to donate our whole bodies to whomever can use it whether it be for research or not, after all it is much cheaper (no funeral costs) and I don’t need it when I am dead.

I think the fact that I could help somebody have a better quality of life is good, and while some less than desirable people may receive the organs we can hope that enough good people will receive them as well.

In regards to buying and selling organs, ifpeople in Australia are having trouble covering the cost of living then only the rich will get transplants and organs and the people not as well off will continue to struggle or not get anything.

jakez jakez 9:42 am 05 Aug 08

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

The government is elected by all people to act in the best interests of all people, not just one person. The best interests of those receiving donated organs outweigh those of the dead person. Therefore, the government should legislate to take the person’s organs. It’s not that much different from the government telling you what you can and can’t do with a corpse for public health reasons.

Hey, it’s utilitarianist, but it’s a philosophical justification. The flip side – “how can the government not intervene to save the lives of many just so that it can respect the wishes of a dead person who arguably has no interests” – is no less thorny.

Disclaimer – I’m not a donor.

Yes the utilitarian argument, and I think it’s safe to say that was the direction the poster to whom I posed the question was heading. I think instead of getting into a debate over ‘act versus rule’ utilitarianism and whether the above represents the best for all people.

Please note that my Grandfather died waiting for a kidney transplant so I am no stranger to the pain that this issue causes.

Please also note that this is no way a comprehensive case that I am putting. I’m merely throwing out the bare bones structure. John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government is very long but I suggest anyone who is interested go and read it, I’m just throwing out a very sloppy Cliffs Notes of a Cliffs Notes.

I will put forward an alternative theory of man and Government, one that has permeated through all of the great liberal thinkers since the enlightenment.

A fundamental rights based liberal concept, and one that I believe in, is that we are sovereign over our own bodies. You are sovereign over your body, as I am sovereign over mine. From this we derive many of the rights that we hold dear. The right not to be aggressed against, to be free from slavery, to be secure in your person. Our ability to own property stems from our ownership of ourselves.

To fast track to the role of Government, liberal thought on the role of Government(which has dominated political theory but not so much political practise in the last few hundred years) puts forward the idea that Governments are created with the consent of the Governed, and are charged with the role of protecting the rights of these people. We freely (through a social contract as some suggest) consent to be under the bounds of the Government in order to gain the protection of our natural rights. This consent is not absolute however and the Government cannot do whatever it likes. We can only grant to the Government, power that we already have and we do not have the power to claim by force that which is anothers, a part of another persons body. To suggest that we do is to bring down all that we have built our society upon.

Now of course many utilitarians would happily say yes, what is right is that which brings about ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’. I find that this belief can lead to great horror, and has done so. To play the utilitarians game however I would suggest that one can put forward the idea that the ultimate protection of the individual will ultimately bring about the greatest good for the greatest number. Utilitarian philosophy JS Mill is a good example of a utilitarian who blended this with a great deal of emphasis on natural rights and individual liberty.

One could always say, but we are talking about someone who is dead. Does it still count when they are dead? I would say yes, just as we allow a dead person to direct and transfer his property upon death through his will (it does not become free game as soon as someone dies), so does ones body maintain its protection. We have no justification for claiming the body of a dead person as our property, and thus neither does the Government. Do we want to live in a society that has so little respect for the dead? I absolutely think that donating organs is a good and honourable thing to do. But I would absolutely abhor a situation where we have decided that it is not a matter for the individual to decide.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:34 am 05 Aug 08

Thanks gun street girl. No insult intended – just clueless about the whole thing.

gun street girl gun street girl 10:11 pm 04 Aug 08

Look, if you want to breed conspiracy theories instead of heeding fact, go right ahead. I’m not interested in duking it out with you.

I-filed I-filed 10:08 pm 04 Aug 08

“highly ethical” and “clinically checked” – you mean, by professional colleagues of the ones that tolerated the Butcher of Bega? Dr Jayant Patel? The Tasmanian hospital sexual assaults perpetrated on patients under anaesthetic, by surgeons?

Whatsup Whatsup 9:00 pm 04 Aug 08

gun street girl: Thanks for your time in putting the post together. It provides an insight into the real world as opposed the the crap that TV suggests.

gun street girl gun street girl 7:45 pm 04 Aug 08

The ideas of “overzealous surgeons”, hasty declaration of brain death by stupid doctors, and a non-transparent clinical pathway (ie bodies going places they weren’t meant to) is a mite insulting, really. In practise, brain death testing and the whole organ donation process is highly clinical and ethically checked down the line.

Brain death, simply put, is the absence of function of both the front of the brain (which controls “higher” centres including personality, memory and movement) as well as the back of the brain, which is the more primitive bit which controls essential functions such as breathing. If you wipe out the back of your brain, you lose the ability to live without external support. If you wipe out the front, you lost the ability to be you, if that makes sense. Brain death testing includes things such as turning off life support (“apnoea testing”), and allowing the carbon dioxide levels in the blood to rise. In a functional brain, this rise in CO2 would cause an autonomic reflex to kick in, turning on the drive to breathe. Without that function, your body just doesn’t breathe on its own. In short, the patient is dead, only kept alive with drugs and machines. Other tests, such as being able to (gently) poke someone in the eye without them flinching, introducing atropine to the system without the heart reacting, abnormal eye movements and pupillary response, and an absence of a cough and gag reflex, all point toward the back of the brain being non-viable (this is not an exhaustive list).

Reversible causes of unconsciousness (eg sepsis, drug overdose) also must be ruled out. The brain is scanned, and EEGs are also obtained, neurologists are often consulted in this process. Frontal damage is illustrated by unconsciousness, no higher responses to any sort of stimuli, no purposeful or spontaneous movement, and the like. Please note: brain death is not the same as a persistent vegetative state, nor is it a “coma”. The transplant and donation teams would not be called to consider those sorts of patients.

The family and friends of patients who donate their organs are dealt with in an incredibly professional and ethical manner by the organ transplant teams and liaison nurses. There is no hidden agenda. I know it is far more salacious to believe that the medical community is lying to the public and protecting some sort of grand conspiracy, but I’m afraid it’s far a more clinical, controlled and moral process than the tabloids would have you believe.

johnboy johnboy 7:24 pm 04 Aug 08

Or worse if there was money involved, a Simpsonsesque “I demand this man be allowed to die with dignity”

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