The Government’s plan to solve the shortage of organs available for transplants by presuming assent and licensing the “harvesting” of organs from the newly dead is a real humdinger of a Public Relations disaster. Donation of organs is one thing, harvesting (the very word the medics choose for the business is repulsive) is another.
I have always been ambivalent about organ transplant. It sounds fine to talk of the dead being able to grant the gift of life to somebody suffering terminal or debilitating illness, but the ethical conflicts between the boy-scientist school of medicine who regard everything in terms of how big an intellectual wank it will give them, and the more caring, less selfish kind of medical professionals who understand that the feelings of the deceased’s relatives must be considered. In the light of the government’s proposal, my attitude has now hardened to “what’s attached to me stays attached when I am dead, end of story.”
Attitudes to death do not vary much from culture to culture; whether we believe we will go to meet our maker or got to make friends with the worms, throughout 5000 years of civilisation it has been understood that the bodies of the deceased should be disposed of respectfully. Now as the “science is God” fraternity led by silly Polly Toynbee are already ranting irrationally that we cannot possibly be aware of what happens to our body after death, we are not allowed to have a say, let me point out that the rituals surrounding the disposal of bodies are not developed for the benefit of the dead, but for the comfort of those who survive them.
In casually dissing the feelings of the bereaved, silly Polly who claims to be a humanist, reveals herself as an inhumanist, as despicable as those medics who cannot see any difference in the status of a human patient and a lab rat.
The other ethical issue arises from our knowledge that the Government proposing this plan is money obsessed and there is a lot of money to be made from selling healthy organs. Once a reliable source has been secured, does anybody really think it will be long before Broon the Body Snatcher will be creating a market in harvested organs. Its is easy to see a link here between this proposal and the plans, already well advanced, to marketise the National Blood Service.
What nobody is mentioning is that organ transplant is something of a lottery, well a lot of a lottery. Put together deaths while waiting for a suitable organ and the survival rate following a transplant and, as we are a society obsessed with the bottom line, transplant is not very cost effective. (see statistics availabe at Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/) On top of that there is the question of how many harvested organs are suitable for transplant and whether they are compatible with patients on the waiting list. It is not a simple question of give a liver, save a life. But these ethical questions are never simple, which is why self interested politicians, boy scientists (who tend to be simple minded in the extreme) and bossy, post menopausal, middle class mad old biddys like Polly Toynbee would prefer just to sweep them aside and focus the debate on the highly emotive but misleading issue of “saving lives.”
I have a cunning plan to thwart the dark forces of inhumanism; never having feared death myself (there’s a lot to be said for stoicism) I now intend to live a life of such uinmitigated debauchery my organs will on my demise be totally fubar, useless, not worth the trouble of removing.
The boy scientists and the Polly Toynbees of this world may delude themselves that if unconstrained by ethical considerations or the need to consider people they like to describe as being “ruled by superstition and belief in magic”, one day medical science will be able to abolish death. Is it not then the boy scientists and their supporters who are ruled by belief in magic? We will never abolish death. As the philosopher David Hume said, “It is better to die at sixty five than endure a further ten years on increasing invalidity.”
We should all heed the sentiment. Organ donation must be voluntary. To even consider making it otherwise shows how far along the road to tyranny this government has travelled. But you can bet your life savings this "harvesting will only be done to NHS patients, they're not gouing to be ripping to shreds corpses belonging to rich families.
COMMENTS on Little Nicky Machiavelli are now moderated for all except friends. If you want to tell me I am an idiot or talking through my arse and can do so wittily, fine. If you wish to challenge my opinions, fine. If you just wish to add something funny or interesting that's fine too, but if you are a boy scientist and simply want to repeat the boy scientist mantra that because I am not a "scientist" I may not write on topics concerning science, sorry but this blog is not a platform for boring fuckers.