I went down a list of controversial topics beginning with the letter “O” — because, yeah, okay, I couldn’t think of one by myself — and was surprised to find “Organ Transplants” as something to argue about. My license lists me as a donor, so if I die in an organized and less-than-icky fashion, some lucky medical-mishap gets my goods.
End of story.
Where’s the controversy in that?
Oh. I see.
That’s the end of the story for the DONOR.
But what about all the people on the waiting list? Which party, in fact, is eligible to receive my bits and pieces? Yeah. I can see where that might get a bit sticky. Because there are lists… and then there are “LISTS”. And someone is always going to play the role of a cheater by moving a name closer to the top of the ladder.
Remember that Denzel Washington film, JOHN Q.? Here’s the synopsis from IMDB to refresh your memory:
A down-on-his luck father,
whose insurance won’t cover
his son’s heart transplant,
takes the hospital’s emergency room hostage
until the doctors agree
to perform the operation.
I remember thinking when I saw this movie back in 2002-3, “How selfish! He’s going to let other people die so his child can live. What a jerk!”
And then I remember my follow-up thought was something like, “Wait. I would probably let other people die so my child can live. Guess I’m a jerk, too.”
That is definitely an extreme case of organ transplants gone awry. I don’t know how accurately this represents the situation — I’m fortunate enough that neither of my babies has needed any medical assistance that dire.
But what if they did? Our medical insurance isn’t all that terrific. What if my one of my babies actually did need a procedure our insurance wouldn’t cover? To what lengths might I go to protect my child’s life?
I don’t know if I could actually resort to holding other lives hostage. But I also don’t know that I couldn’t. I am a feisty bitch when it comes to keeping my loved ones safe. I can, at the very least, say I wouldn’t let anyone in my association die without a fight.
But back to organ transplants.
We’ve all heard the urban legend about the purloined kidney — you know the one! A weary business traveler brings a hooker up to his hotel room, only to wake up the next morning in a tub full of ice with a note to call 911 if he wants to live. Or, sometimes it’s a college student who partied too hard with the wrong people.
Whatever the case, a bit of
fact checking via snopes.com confirms our fears are unfounded. This shit never actually happened — except on some stupid episode of some stupid show. Thank you, TV, as usual, for making us all more afraid than we needed to be.
“The stark reality
is that there are more people
in need of transplant-able organs
than there are organs to go around.
it’s reasonable to believe
wild stories of kidneys being hijacked
from the unwary.
Standing in the shoes
of someone desperate for this procedure,
wouldn’t you be willing to pay
just about anything
to secure what you needed
to keep on living?”
Indeed. Food for thought.
That’s not the only controversy over this topic, apparently. Currently there are arguments as to how long an individual must be (*ahem*) DEAD before the organs are “harvested”.
I put the word “harvested” in quotations because it’s a euphemism for “cut out of the body of the dude what just kicked it.” As in, let’s not kid ourselves that “harvesting” is a pleasant term, okay? “Harvesting” usually implies a community activity taking place in the fall in which the corn and onions and shit are all gathered up from the land for mutual good-eats. It’s a lot of work resulting in happy times.
There is nothing happy about a dead person. Or about gross body parts dripping in blood and effluvia and grody-ness. So let’s not pretend, okay?
After a person dies, doctors are supposed to wait a certain amount of time before cutting that junk out. But that gets into the question of death — what is DEAD? No more heart beat? Or no more brain activity? And therein lies the question. I don’t know those answers, and I’m thankful I’m not in charge of deciding.
One more note on organ transplants. Wealthy people take a beating for buying their way to the top of a transplant list. I’m not rich, by any stretch of the financial imagination, but I’m here to tell you now —
If my child needs an organ, and I have the means to fund it, you better believe I would be the biggest cheater you ever saw. Any parents out there who would act differently?
AtoZ August 2012 — A Month of Controversy
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.