Public Organ Donation Policies a Failure

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organ donationDespite concerted efforts by state and federal agencies to encourage organ donation, many in place since the 1980’s, organ donation rates have remained stagnant.  Those in need of organ donations still find themselves waiting, and often losing the battle against time, even though personal training can help.  Despite a state-by-state push for more widespread donations, something that eventually spread to include the entire nation, neither the rate of donation nor number of transplants performed has markedly increased in decades.

What Programs

Since the late 80’s, there have been numerous programs designed to increase awareness of the need of more organ donors and even provide incentives for those who donate.  State ID’s and driver’s licenses now generally indicate whether someone is a donor.  Families are encouraged to discuss donation and end of life choices with their next of kin.  Even elementary school children are taught about the need for donors and the benefits of donation.

All to little if any avail.

What’s Worked

The only donations that have substantively improved over the last few decades have to do with finances.  States have given their citizens the options to donate to organ donation funds, which help offset the numerous and extensive costs of receiving an organ transplant.  Increases in donations to these funds have equated to about 8-15 additional transplants per state per year, depending upon whether the organ donor is deceased or living.

While this benefit can’t be discounted, the bottom line is that without organs to transplant, the program is failing needy potential recipients.

So, What to Do?

The problem is that there is no universally accepted consensus regarding how to increase the percentage of donor organs available.  Despite being a highly effective treatment, with success rates for organ donation procedures getting better every day, you can’t force or even compel someone to donate their organs or the organs of their deceased loved-ones.

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The ethics are simply too shady and passions too heated on either side.  For everyone waiting in anguish for a donor organ to save their loved-one’s life, there is someone on the other side who just lost a loved one and who must make the heart-wrenching decision whether or not to donate their viable organs.

Even living organ donation is a very big deal for donor.  Going without a kidney or giving up part of a liver for a perfect stranger is a huge sacrifice.

Professionals who deal with the implications of organ donation or lack thereof every day are calling for reform in policies.  So far, unfortunately, there’s no consensus as to what that entails.

Still not convinced? Watch the video below: