Organ Ghouls on the Prowl

(This the second of several articles dealing with the increasing threat against protecting the elderly and infirm).                                         

Human spare parts merchants are growing increasingly aggressive and heartless in their rejection of the Personhood of potential organ donors.

Recent developments include a plan to expand the pool of potential donors, as well as callously celebrating a growing source of organs—those who die as a result of the country’s opioid crisis.

It’s the latest evidence that the culture of death poses a growing threat to people when they are the most vulnerable.

Revealing Statement Removed

Leading the charge is the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), the scientific and educational organization that administers the non-profit Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).  

It sets organ donation guidelines and policies throughout the country.

UNOS recently revealed its end game when it floated a trial balloon proposing that assisted suicide victims should be able to commit to donating their organs before killing themselves.

Hidden deep in a draft white paper that discussed the possibility of expanding the base of potential donors to include more people seeking to kill themselves was the following statement:

“We recommend that individuals with certain fatal diseases be allowed to donate their organs prior to an assisted suicide, but only in those U.S. states where physician assisted suicide is legal and individuals meet the criteria for assisted suicide.”

Assisted suicide is currently legal in California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

UNOS told Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) the proposal was removed because it, “…distracted from the main purpose of the white paper.”

However, a spokesman for the company said, “This topic could be reconsidered in the future if it [assisted suicide] becomes legal in more states and if OPTN policy is amended…”

Energized to Make Use of All Potential Donors

Considering the growing demand for organs, coupled with continuing efforts to add more states that allow this evil practice, there is no doubt there will be mounting pressure on people to prematurely end their lives.     

In 2017, 26 states considered assisted suicide laws. All 26 failed, but their avid proponents will be back.

In the meantime, UNOS is taking full advantage of the nation’s drug epidemic. David Klassen, the organization’s chief medical officer, recently told CNN that the number of donors who died from overdoses increased over the past year to the point where they represent 25 percent of all donations in some parts of the country.

While claiming the trend is not something anyone wants to see, Klassen added: “The transplant community is pretty energized in terms of trying to make use of all potential donors.”

Asked if he still stands by that statement, a UNOS spokesperson told GRTL, “Yes.”

Increasing Demand for Organs Can Lead to Involuntary Euthanasia

These trends show that the United States is clearly on a path to catch up with Canada, which has already harvested dozens of organs from people who underwent medically assisted suicide.

At the same time, it has prompted a debate in some circles over whether people will be pressured to kill themselves in order to get their organs.

Dr. James Downar, a Toronto critical care doctor, was quoted saying: “The concern that comes up is, could the decision for one drive the decision for the other?”

That’s exactly what is happening in one European country.

In the Netherlands, which along with Belgium, allows outright euthanasia, linking the two is even worse.

(In assisted suicide, a person is supposed to self-administer a fatal medication provided by a doctor. With euthanasia, a physician kills the person with an injection—even against the person’s wishes in at least one known case).

BioEdge, a bioethics publication, reported last October that for the first time since the Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2002, a doctor may be prosecuted for not following the letter of the law.

According to the article, an 80-year-old woman with dementia was living in a nursing home, where she did not want to be. Before entering the home and still lucid, she had expressed the desire to be euthanized “when I myself find it the right time.”

Because she was unhappy and wandered the corridors at night, a doctor decided she must be suffering unbearably. Based on her previous statements, he concluded that euthanasia was appropriate, even though she no longer understood what that meant.

The woman became agitated when he approached to give her an injection. Two sedatives did not quiet her.

When she saw the needle for the lethal injection, the woman struggled. It finally took family members holding her down before the doctor could proceed. She died shortly afterwards.

Pressure to End Loved One's Life for Organs

While assisted suicide and euthanasia are banned in Georgia, families can still face pressure to end the life of a family member, often in an unexpectedly cruel way.

Several years ago that happened to former GRTL President Dan Becker. His 20-year-old brother was critically injured in a motorcycle accident. After being in a coma for six days, the organ donation team approached the family.

Because of his young age and excellent health he would make the perfect donor. They played on the family’s emotions saying, “think of all the people that will benefit from your son’s sacrifice.”

The family was supportive until they were informed that the heart and lungs have to be removed while the heart is still beating. Making it worse, they were told that the cause of death would be listed as “heart failure,” also termed “cadaveric donation.” 

Such heartbreaking situations pose a challenge for pro-life supporters. If physicians are not completely forthcoming with family members, they may allow harvesters to prematurely be the actual cause of their loved one’s death.

Organs must contain oxygen-rich blood in order to be usable in transplantation and therefore must be retrieved very quickly.

The problem is that if a loved one is taken off life support it may take a long time for them to die—longer than the window for retrieval.

As a result, when dealing with people in comas, in most cases physicians rely on a value judgment that the person is “brain dead” and that they should be allowed to harvest their organs, which in effect will be the actual cause of death.

Families are encouraged to become familiar with these issues before agreeing that a loved one is beyond recovery and allowing organ retrieval.

Another fact to keep in mind is that most hospitals consider prior registration as an organ donor as legally binding and organ retrieval must be allowed regardless of a family’s wishes.

Considering these gruesome facts, pro-life supporters are encouraged to carefully consider whether they want to be a donor. Those wishing to cancel their registration can do so at www.donatelifegeorgia.org.  A new driver’s license may also be required.

Sources: nationalpost.com; bioedge.org; transplantliving.org; cnn.com.

By Wayne DuBois
Georgia Right to Life
Media Relations Advisor