First off let me start this with the fact that I believe whole heartedly in Organ Donation. I know of several people personally who have received organs, some which have had their lives enhanced and a few whose lives would have ended by now if they didn't receive the organ. I myself am an organ donor simply because I want to give of my dieing/dead body to someone that can use it. This post is in no way aimed at the Medical profession since without them organ transplantation would be impossible.
Today in my email I received this invitation: " Everyone at BlogCatalog hopes you will join us and blog this Wednesday in the first world wide blogger social campaign to raise awareness about organ donation and the issues surrounding organ donation". Below the above invitation was a listing of various stories about how organ donation has helped people, about how black market organ harvesting should be stopped and other similar articles. All were very interesting and some moving. I don't know if this was a WEB-WIDE invitation or if it was aimed at specific people based on the content of their blogs. Either way, I received it and had to put my two cents in. Unfortunately it will have to be Tuesday because Wednesday I have to deal with the families that have had to make the ultimate decision whether or not to donate a part of their loved one.
It may not be obvious to some but being who I am and doing what I do puts me in direct contact with Organ Procurement corporations as well as the families that they reach out to. I have had several meetings with agents of these companies and have had the chance to ask questions and get answers that the general public may not be aware of. Some of the answers I received were not consistent with what I "thought" organ donation was about. I have also dealt with families who have been contacted immediately after a death only to be asked if they would mind if mothers eyes, skin, long bones and the like be removed as a donation.
The word "donation" is used very loosely in these organizations however the fact is that this is an extremely lucrative business and someone is making big bucks on the guise that these organs are being given to the needy. Given to the needy? Bullshit!! In one of my consults with a corporation which will remain nameless I discovered that once these donated organs are harvested they are then sold, yes sold, to doctors and hospitals across the country who are in need of a specific organ or organs. They in turn re-sell these organs (which is never written on paper) to the patients who have the need for them and the money to afford them. Granted, these harvesters need to make a living, these physicians need to make a living and the hospitals that the doctors are affiliated with also need to keep their doors open so money has to change hands somewhere along the line; but isn't a donation a donation? I don't think I know anyone who works at anything for nothing yet I do know workers who donate. The problem I have is that when I donate something, anything, I expect it to be GIVEN to the person that I donate it to. I don't expect, nor want for that matter, some middleman or men to benefit by my donation. Hell, I know I can't have a family member rip my eye or heart out of my body and hand it to either a blind person or heart patient and then expect them to just plug it in as if it were some computer component; that's where the medical expertise comes in, ergo the cost. Understandable. But what I don't understand is that when for instance a cornea is purchased by a hospital versus a heart why is it that the price from Organ Procurement companies to Hospitals fluctuates by tens of thousands of dollars?
If everyone thinks that organ donation is so wonderful and I can literally donate my organ to someone then why can't the procurer, the doctor and the hospital donate their services so that this is an all around donation? Doesn't that seem to be a real donation? And, if that isn't possible for whatever reason, shouldn't the donor actually be the seller and receive some sort of compensation for their organ? You know, I'm not trying to stir the pot and suggest that the sale of organs be legal, I'm just saying that if someone gives of their body it should be just that, a gift. I still intend to let my organs be used if worthy but I only wish that the person or persons receiving them, no matter how grateful, could rely on my donation being just a part of a greater donation. A true donation of life.