Monday, February 27, 2006

Why you should be on organ donors list

Today's Globe and Mail:

At 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2005 Jennifer Martens was awakened in the middle of the night and told to get to an Edmonton hospital right away. Once there, she was brought to an operating room for a cesarean section; four hours later, in an operating room down the hall, surgeons anesthetized her newborn son and sawed open his chest.

There's more: Xander Dolski, the baby in question, had to receive a heart within hours after birth or face certain death. And the donor heart needed to be transplanted within six hours of being removed from the deceased donor infant. Any longer and the heart would be prone to failure.

Xander was whisked to the operating room at 8:10 a.m., where he was anesthetized. By 9:15 a.m., he was put on the heart-bypass machine, a type of artificial circulation. His chest retracted open; he was there, waiting for a donor organ to arrive. When that organ came, it was a thing of beauty, with four working chambers. And following the transplant, Xander became proof that medical miracles aren't just the stuff of prime-time television, but of real life after receiving a transplant at the tender age of eight hours.

Today, eight weeks after his birth, the robust breastfeeding boy weighs 9 pounds, 1 ounce, and the ruler-straight scar that runs from the top of his chest to his midriff has already started to fade to mauve.


At 6:17 p.m., Blogger Inquisitor said...

I'm on the donors list, however it doesn't mean anything if your next of kin object.

At 6:38 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

wait a second! Next of kin can veto my own will?

At 9:21 p.m., Blogger Inquisitor said...

You brought up two separate issues:
1) a will
A will determines who gets the deceased's possessions and how they want to be buried, etc. It can be challenged or requested to be set aside by anyone who disagrees with it. They can go to court alleging that the deceased owes them or that the deceased promised them something or left them out by accident. Hence, if someone wants to cut someone else out of a will the best way is sometimes to mention that person gets nothing. However, it is up to the executor of the will to actually know what they are doing and to execute the wishes set out in the will. Many don't know what they are doing or carry out the wishes. Dealing with a will happens after someone passes away, often estates are not wrapped up for a year or longer. Sometimes more than a decade depending upon the complexity of the estate.
What if someone wants their gay partner to get their prized possessions. Family members who disagree with the lifestyle choices have challenged the will or refused to hand over items. What if someone wants to be cremated but their parents/spouse disagree with that option on their own religious grounds. Who will force them to do is written in the will?

2) donating organs
This is not done through a will because by that time it is too late. It is done by signing a card, often with the ministry of transportation. What if the donor did not have their licence with them? How would they check if that person signed as a donor? What if the donor signed a personal care directive (you assign someone to make your health decisions for you such as pulling the plug) and that person, in their grief, refuses to allow the donor to donate an organ because they do not want to see that person 'cut up'. Or, there could just be crying and grieving family members who are at the death bed refusing to allow it to happen.

Often families do not discuss these things ahead of time because of cultural, religious or personal views that they find uncomfortable to discuss.

For how wills can be challenged, look at Anna Nicole Smith. It has gone to 4 levels of courts and now the US Supreme Court is going to hear the case as it will rule on the legitimacy of lower courts to determine the case and overturn one another, especially from one state to another (Texas vs. California and State Courts vs Federal Courts vs Federal Courts of Appeal) Why has it dragged on so long? Hundreds of millions are at stake as the deceased was a billionaire. But it can happen for smaller amounts too. People can sometimes be petty and it's like a free for all when people die sometimes. Everyone wants money.

At 7:22 a.m., Blogger Bahar said...

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