Donating our organs should be automatic in Canada

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  1. Paul Anderson

    An opt-out organ donation system would pair poorly with Bill C-14 (Medical Assistance in Dying). We would soon be hearing that MAiD ought to be presumptively administered. Consent should never be presumed. The public is already generally in favour of organ donation. They just need to be reminded, and reminded again, to opt-in.

    • Ed Weiss

      Paul, I’m not sure why you are trying to connect opt-out organ donation with medical assistance in dying. MAID absolutely requires a person’s consent and cannot be done otherwise. What are you trying to say?

  2. Deirdre Freiheit

    Couldn’t agree more! I have a friend who received a heart transplant. He almost died while waiting. Until such time as we have a better system, I encourage everyone to sign up online to be a donor. It takes two minutes: There is potential for so many of us to give the gift of life.

    • Sherlyn Assam

      Hi Deirdre, my name is Sherlyn and I am journalism student at Carleton University. I am writing an article about organ transplants, and I think you and your friend’s voice would be a strong contribution to the story. Let me know if you are willing and available to talk!

      • Susan McPherson

        Sherlyn I wish I had responded to this article sooner. We weren’t vocal enough in our objection.
        How this could ever pass is beyond me, to have people have to sign to opt out. It puts too much pressure on people and I cannot see how anyone, except the feeble-minded wealthy, would want this change in policy.

    • Mike

      Was a pacemaker not an option? Are they testing animal hearts in humans yet? See when it comes to supply and demand people do crazy things and we need better options than using people as commodities or it literally turns into one person going and taking the life of another for profits. Very quickly I might add

      • Rasita

        Mike, I’m sure if the person almost died from waiting for a heart transplant, doctors must have exhausted all options ESPECIALLY something as easy as a pacemaker. Secondly, an opt-out system does not use people as commodities, rather it maintains our moral duty and altruism of helping others in need as long as it does not bring harm to us. Opt-out systems allow you ‘opt out’ of being a donor when you die, no one is going to forcefully take your organs out without the permission of you or your family, who can actually veto your decision to be a donor once you have passed away. Also, when you say “profit”, this is a completely altruistic system, who is getting any reimbursement or incentives for being a donor??? Being an organ donor whether it be through an opt-in or opt-out system is purely altruistic unless you decide to travel to Iran or China and willingly participate in paid organ trades or organ harvests. Paid organ markets are very illegal in most countries as well as incentivised donations, so I’m not sure who you’re talking about when you claim people “go and take life of another for profits”. Also xenotransplantation is still such a big bioethical issue considering there are chances transplants could result in new animal viruses to evolve and infect human tissues. It’s simply not ethical to impose an unknown risk on the community for the sake of the benefit of individuals.

    • Susan McPherson

      Why don’t you go online and sign your name, then, just to make sure you did it right.

  3. Elizabetth Hopkins

    I had surgery without informed consent four years ago. I think it was an accident, though I’m not sure. I was listed as an organ donor up until this time, though I’ve since changed it and don’t want anyone doing anything to me without consent. Don’t assume consent.

    • Ron Mara

      @ Elizabeth Hopkins : you are correct, one should not assume consent. But in the current situation we are assuming there is “no- consent” unless someone fills up a form – not sure if that is correct either. Having said that, even in an opt-out scheme, it gives people the option to actually opt out if they do not want to donate. There is no compulsion that everyone must donate against their wishes. The default would be the assumption that everyone is a donor- people can choose not to give if that is their wish.

      Don’t you think that it is sad though that many people would be first in the line-up if they have to receive, and yet would not be willing to donate to help others?

    • Sherlyn Assam

      Hi Elizabeth, my name is Sherlyn Assam and I’m a journalism student at Carleton University. I would like your input for my in-depth class article on organ transplants. Please let me know if you are willing to talk more about your experience!

    • Susan McPherson

      I agree, Elizabeth. I had something done to me without my giving consent with no pressure. Waiting until 5 minutes before the procedure was putting pressure on me to accept the suggested change in procedure.

  4. rick sanchez

    Everybody gets a taste (physicians, OR nurses, transplant programmes, drug companies, hospitals etc) except the patient (donor) . There should be tax credits wrt donations, ie. if I donate to a kidney and am off work/out of commission for 6 wks, I lose earnings, QoL at home etc. another ie. let my next of kin write off my funeral expenses – I submit there will be a significant rise in donations

    • Ron Mara

      @ Rick Sanchez : My concern is that once you monetize organ donations through any mechanism (including tax credits) – you may be going down a slippery slope. In a public healthcare space, where I am hoping I will get an organ donated to me if I need one, the onus is on me to give back as well. Who knows, someone near and dear to me may benefit through a system where we are all donating by default. The opinion in this piece is something worth considering for sure.

  5. Cynthia

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on our organ donation system! I do agree on the point that we do not make organ donation easy and efficient. However, I also feel that automatic opt-in to donate our organs does not adequately provide an process for informed consent. I believe there needs to be more public awareness of this topic so each of us gives it more thoughts to decide what we want to do.

  6. Sherlyn Assam

    Hi Sneha, this was an interesting read. I am a journalism student at Carleton University, and I am writing an article about organ transplants, and would like to ask you additional questions about your opinion to contribute to the story. Let me know if you are willing and available to talk!

  7. Mike

    It is wrong to assume anyone will take or receive organs. Some people refuse blood and organs and that is their right. There is a thing called informed consent and it took a lot of heart ache to achieve that. It is sad to see so much pushing for harvesting and such little effort being put into creating new organs from the patients own cells.

  8. Brian CR Shaw

    I can’t think of a better gift to leave this planet. Opt-out would allow such bequeaths!

  9. Maariyah

    I am in full support of the opt-out program. It works in Spain and in the U.K. I had a heart transplant that saved my life at the age of 20, about three months ago. Organ donation is so important and the stats are mind-boggling. The wait is too long and thousands of people are dying every day. Being an opt-out nation allows us to give a second chance at life to those in need. Plus, organ donation does not cause any harm to the soul and does not kill any one. The process is done after the person is pronounced deceased already. Having an opt-out system doesn’t force anyone to do anything. It simply gives them the chance to decide whether or not they want to donate their organs or tissues. The opt-in system is a failure as a result of lack of awareness. It’s easier to get people to opt-out than to opt-in in my opinion.

  10. Chris

    Great article! As I write this comment, Nova Scotia is passing a bill to make opt-out the norm in their province. Way to go!! I hope the other provinces follow this lead. It is a tricky subject. People can get very emotional with their bodies and view this as another example of the government taking over. The controls should be in place to ensure that people who do not want to donate are not violated. The option not to donate is always there for people, so there is no need to panic. Also, the government should be ready to deal with mis-information that is likely to spread.

  11. Susan McPherson

    I am scarcely able to get decent health care as it is, and have been pressured into having a test done I would not have, had I known what was going to happen. I have written on my blog, Sue’s Views on the News, about some of these situations, and the more I write, it seems the worse it gets for me.

    I have taken my name off the donor list, once I realized that some patients would be considered more worthy than others.

  12. Anon

    Question: How would a person who does not want their organs/tissues/DNA etc., to ever be used for reproductive/fertility purposes (e.g. a Pro-Choice supporter) prevent such things from happening without removing themselves completely from the Organ Donor registry?

  13. Maria Patungan

    The number of people not wanting to donate their organs will be the same number of people opting out for the organ donation. What difference if this going to make? How is implied consent helpful for parents and relatives going through stages of loss and just not ready or want to share organs of their deceased, is the government really going to force them?

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