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The Convenient Death
National Review Online ^ | October 06, 2009 | The Editors

Posted on 10/06/2009 7:38:55 PM PDT by neverdem








The Convenient Death
By the Editors

Wait for patients to die before taking their organs, and the organs won’t be as fresh. Let doctors take the organs from living patients — even if it means causing them to die a little faster than they otherwise would — and the supply of usable organs will go up. Some other patient will get a second chance at life, and the dead guy won’t miss anything: What could possibly go wrong with this idea?

The editors of Nature are well aware that this proposal might seem a little ghoulish, and they have two suggestions for making it seem less so. The first is that “death” be redefined. The law currently treats someone as dead if he has experienced an “irreversible cessation” either of all the functions of the brain or of both the circulatory and respiratory systems. These tests indicate that the person can no longer function as an integrated organism. Since people can pass those tests without, in the editors’ view, “being alive in any meaningful sense,” and since those people can be sources of working organs, the editorial proposes changing the definition. It does not specify what the new definition should be, but it is clear that the direction of the change should be toward relaxation. Problem solved: Fresh organs can now be removed from a patient deemed to be dead, and the procedure can’t, by (new) definition, kill anyone.

Nature’s second suggestion is to proceed by stealth: “Physicians and others involved in the issue would be wise to investigate just how incendiary the theme might be, perhaps in contained focus groups, and design their strategy accordingly.”

The proposal to increase the supply of organs for transplant by redefining death is, sadly, not considered outrageous in the field of bioethics. But it has never received an endorsement this respectable. It is heartening that at least Nature can devise no strong argument for it.

The editorial asserts that current law misunderstands death as an event rather than a process — which hardly justifies refusing to wait until the process is over. This argument merely puts a “scientific” gloss on a value judgment. Nature argues further that current law supposedly pushes doctors to lie about when death has occurred to get organs. But it is the utilitarian, parts-is-parts attitude toward human life that pushes some doctors this way, and that this proposal exemplifies.

Even on its own utilitarian terms, it is counterproductive: Nothing would be more likely to reduce people’s willingness to list themselves as organ donors than the fear that doing so would lead doctors to hasten their deaths to get their organs.

The deeper flaw with the proposal is that it is grossly immoral, an attempt to legitimize the killing of vulnerable people while pretending something else is being done. Further evils would come in its train. The editorial concludes that “concerns about the legal details of declaring death in someone who will never again be the person he or she was should be weighed against the value of giving a full and healthy life to someone who will die without a transplant.” Whether someone is actually dead is not a “legal detail.” And note the expansiveness of the language. There will always be people whose lives do not seem “full and healthy,” in comparison either with who they once were or with others deemed more deserving of life.

Efforts to help the sick are praiseworthy only when they observe moral limits. Nature’s proposal to redefine death to facilitate transplants should not even be entertained.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: bioethics; bringoutyourdead; imnotdeadyet; nature; organharvest; transplantsurgery; utilitarianism; youthinasia
Since people can pass those tests without, in the editors’ view, “being alive in any meaningful sense,” and since those people can be sources of working organs, the editorial proposes changing the definition. It does not specify what the new definition should be...

These ghouls are putting the cart before the horse.

1 posted on 10/06/2009 7:38:56 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Any donor organ shortage is wholly artifical and created by government.


2 posted on 10/06/2009 7:40:37 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: neverdem; Jim Robinson
Since, by *any* criterion (including brain death), the MSM are dead...

Jim, when do you get to move into the networks' LA offices?

And who gets the New York Times facilities?

Cheers!

3 posted on 10/06/2009 7:47:06 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: neverdem

The Purpose-Driven Death.


4 posted on 10/06/2009 7:48:32 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Without the second, the rest are just politicians BS.)
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To: GeronL

“Hi..were here from the Office of human organ resouces”...

“congratulations!”... “

“Through a review of your electronic medical records, We’ve determined you are a matched doner for a rich fat democrat who desparately needs your liver.....”

“you have ten minutes to put your affairs in order and come with us...”

“please dont make a seen in front of your family...or they will be detained, declared dead, and processed for random organ donation as well...”


5 posted on 10/06/2009 7:49:32 PM PDT by Crim
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To: neverdem

Well that wont be Grandma with her old worn organs...

Sommeone younger...Barry’s age...


6 posted on 10/06/2009 7:49:39 PM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: Tennessee Nana

Once again science fiction proves prophetic.

Does anyone else remember the movie “Coma”?


7 posted on 10/06/2009 7:52:44 PM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
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To: neverdem
The editorial asserts that current law misunderstands death as an event rather than a process

That's because the rest of us live in the real world, rather than manufacturing our own within darwinian-infested, sociopathic laboratories.
8 posted on 10/06/2009 7:53:23 PM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: neverdem

It’s pretty easy to guess what the definition will be:
“We want the organs, therefore the donor (no longer a human or person, just a donor) is kaput!.”

These ghouls are putting the cart before the horse.

But not before gutting the horse for parts.


9 posted on 10/06/2009 7:53:40 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: neverdem

This will be part of your end-of-life care plan under Obamacare.


10 posted on 10/06/2009 8:00:51 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: neverdem

11 posted on 10/06/2009 8:01:43 PM PDT by Iron Munro (I I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take a beating.)
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To: count-your-change
It’s pretty easy to guess what the definition will be: “We want the organs, therefore the donor (no longer a human or person, just a donor) is kaput!.”

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

12 posted on 10/06/2009 8:01:53 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Without the second, the rest are just politicians BS.)
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To: neverdem

“These ghouls are putting the cart before the horse.”

Bring out yer dead!

Bring out yer dead!


13 posted on 10/06/2009 8:02:08 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: neverdem

This is old news. The ChiCom govt has been doing this for some years using prisoners and political dissidents; just go to sleep and we’ll fix that tooth - it will never bother you again.

Herro, yes we haf new liver for you - onry $80,000. Hurry to come here.


14 posted on 10/06/2009 8:05:08 PM PDT by Rembrandt
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To: Tennessee Nana

Remember when this was said of abortion?

“The deeper flaw with the proposal is that it is grossly immoral, an attempt to legitimize the killing of vulnerable people while pretending something else is being done. Further evils would come in its train.”


15 posted on 10/06/2009 8:06:13 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Iron Munro

Awesome “cartoon”


16 posted on 10/06/2009 8:16:58 PM PDT by victim soul
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To: neverdem

OMG, this makes me sick.


17 posted on 10/06/2009 8:18:00 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Steely Tom

Well, I need all my abilities and more. so I’m doing my best to make sure no one really wants my organs, too much rust and rot to be recycled.


18 posted on 10/06/2009 8:18:20 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Ronin
When I was a young child (and reading way over my head), I recall a short story in a science fiction anthology. The plot revolved around a young man making a futile attempt to escape prison - making his way through the organ harvesting facility next door.

In the end he is recaptured and brought in for sentencing. For his crimes of repeatedly speeding and running traffic lights he is convicted, and sent off to said organ harvesting facility. It turns out that organ transplants could theoretically keep people alive 'forever' - provided there was a sufficient supply of them... thus the public repeatedly and inexorably voted for changes in the law to, uhmm, ensure an adequate supply.

I could be wrong, but I'm thinking the author is Larry Niven, if someone wanted to look it up.

19 posted on 10/06/2009 8:19:19 PM PDT by Liberty1970 (Democrats are not in control. God is. And Thank God for that!)
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They can have my organs when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers!

Oops...

Mark


20 posted on 10/06/2009 8:30:43 PM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: Ronin
Does anyone else remember the movie “Coma”?

Or "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life."

*Knock*Knock* Hello, we're here for your liver..."

Mark

21 posted on 10/06/2009 8:32:22 PM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: neverdem

Ah! LEBENS UNWERTE LEBENS. Glad to see collectivist medicine and science hasn’t changed all that much since the ‘30s.


22 posted on 10/06/2009 8:54:21 PM PDT by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: neverdem

Wow. Solve the artificial shortage created by the government ban on compensation (making lifesaving implements effectively worthless) by redefining death to include the living?

Doublespeak much?


23 posted on 10/06/2009 8:59:21 PM PDT by BobbyT
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To: Ronin
Does anyone else remember the movie “Coma”?

Read the book, absolutely chilling, and it seems quite prophetic...

the infowarrior

24 posted on 10/06/2009 10:03:08 PM PDT by infowarrior
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To: Liberty1970

Sure sounds like something from Larry Niven’s “Known Space” timeline.


25 posted on 10/06/2009 10:56:55 PM PDT by coydog (Time to feed the pigs!)
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To: coydog; Liberty1970

There’s also a great book by the British author Kazuo Ishiguro (who wrote Remains of the Day) titled “Never Let Me Go,” about a group of young people in Britain who have been bred and brought up solely to be used for supplying organs.


26 posted on 10/07/2009 3:31:45 AM PDT by livius
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To: victim soul
Awesome “cartoon”

I love the way a great cartoonist can cut right to the heart of an issue (no puns intended) so much quicker and clearer than most wordsmiths.
Just imagine if you could send the cartoon of the day to Obama to read with his morning briefing!!
With his thin skin he would be even more of a wreck than he normally is.
.

27 posted on 10/07/2009 6:42:59 AM PDT by Iron Munro (I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take a beating.)
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To: neverdem

sheesh!!You’ll have to pay to buy an “HIV” + lab test to be left alone!!!


28 posted on 10/07/2009 10:14:39 AM PDT by mo
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To: neverdem
13 October, 2030

Federal Bureau of Organ Redistribution

Dear Mr. Drill:

Thank you for applying to the Organ Donation Program. Our doctors have had a look at yours. You can keep them.

J. Kevorkian, MD


Dang it.

29 posted on 10/07/2009 10:32:42 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: infowarrior; Ronin
I remember that move: Michael Douglas was in his prime, and Geneviève Bujold was as well.

A young Tom Sellek made his appearance.

That movie creeped me out, as much for the atmospherics as for the plot.

30 posted on 10/07/2009 11:44:25 AM PDT by happygrl (Hope and Change or Rope and Chains?)
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To: Iron Munro

Right on the money!


31 posted on 10/09/2009 4:41:15 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...

Redefining death op-ed. Thanks neverdem.


32 posted on 10/11/2009 7:46:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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