Sunday, 13 January 2008

Gordon Brown to push for transplant organ harvesting without explicit consent

The matter of presumed consent over organ ‘donation’ will probably see some considerable posting onthe net and I have seen a couple of good posts already. Never-the-less it seems Gordon Brown has now shown his true colours and inclinations at last, in a wider sense, over the matter.

In his own words Gordon Brown is throwing his weight behind a presumed consent form of organ ‘donation’ where unless the ‘donor’ registers an objection then their organs may be ‘harvested’, or more correctly, requisitioned by the state.

Personally it would make me just a little uncomfortable if I felt those who had charge of my medical care, when I was most vulnerable, were not just working for my best interest - but were also scouting for potential organs and might view me as a valuable resource in that respect.

God forbid they have targets or we might be in danger of seeing something similar to the sudden increase in young babies being taken into care when adoption targets were set for social services.

It conjures up a cartoon image of a starving man on a desert island looking at his companion and seeing a roast dinner instead.

No one can help but feel for those who are in need of a replacement for a failing organ It is an emotive issue and such a scheme would undoubtedly increase the supply of organs. There again so would re introducing the death penalty for murder and then harvesting the organs that become available as a result.

Just because it might solve the problem does not necessarily make it desirable, right or acceptable. Efforts to find other solutions have not really been pushed properly.

Patients’ groups have indicated they are "totally opposed" to the idea because it would take away patients' rights over their own bodies.

Joyce Robin of Patient Concern said "They call it presumed consent, but it is no consent at all," "They are relying on inertia and ignorance to get the results that they want."

She pointed out that the Government had made very little effort to persuade people to register as donors. "Where is the big media campaign, where are the leaflets? Why, when I go to see my GP, doesn't he ask me about organ donation? These are the things they should be doing - not taking away our right to decide what happens to our bodies."

John Locke said: ”Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.”

Not according to Gordon Brown it seems - The fact that he is apparently willing to support such a scheme says a lot about the way he thinks.

In a way it is another for of taxation - to be paid in flesh.

He clearly believes that the state, though he would no doubt wish to euphemistically couch it in terms of ‘society’, or even that much abused term ‘the community’, has a greater right to an individual’s private property than the actual owner. Especially when said owner is unable to express an opinion, be that property bricks and mortar, cash or their own person.

What next? Once the state has established the precedence in having a proprietorial interest over the individual’s own body, regardless of their personal wishes? Will it then be happy to permit you to fail to maximise it’s effectiveness by not taking enough exercise, or for you to damage it by over eating, or drinking any alcohol?

That might make the organs less likely to be of use and you to be an unreasonable drain on the NHS taking precious resources that could be used on something more sociably useful such as another manager.

To presume consent is to take without consent and to presume the right to do so.

5 comments:

Kat P said...

BBC News 24 seems to be pushing the new government line.

They looked quite surprised a patients’ association representative was against it and were more hostile on him in the interview than usual.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

He's not getting my organs, the fr---in' ghoul.

Phil A said...

Kat, I think I may have caught part of that interview. In the one I saw the guy made the quite telling point that who could trust a Government database anyway, opt in or out, to actually get it right.

I thought exactly. Their jobs database can’t manage to match junior Drs posts, they loose personal data or pass it on to ‘uncle tom cobbly and all’.

You're right, the interviewer did seem more like an interrogator after a confession, once he realised the guy was not towing the party line.

J, I have no particular objection to really donating, if it should ever come to that (which I earnestly hope it does not). My problem is that Gordon Brown apparently assumes the State/he has the right to just take them without asking first.

Shades said...

If presumed consent is introduced then my next action would be explicit dissent.

Kick them in the bollocks with unintended consequences, it's the only language they understand (and the only law they struggle to think about).

Phil A said...

Shades, I must admit. Enforced assumed consent may well result in explicit refusal from me also. I don’t know if this will be the response in the majority.

The whole concept of ‘assumed’ consent relies on the inertia and lack of attention to the matter of the majority until it affects the individual concerned.

That’s what this government relies on across the board not just in this matter.

Re unintended consequences - This Government must be wearing padded leather breeches, the number of times it has been bitten in the backside by inevitable action of the law of unintended consequences brought on by repeated ill conceived and poorly thought out policy and legislation.

I wonder if Brown brought this controversial proposal up at this time, as much to divert attention from the likes of; Hain’s donation laundering, government incompetence over Northern Rock, his selling off gold reserves at a pathetic price highlighted by the current high value of gold, etc., etc., as anything else.