We are writing in response to a published letter to the editor on June 6th denouncing deceased organ donation.
Donor to Donor is a non-profit organ donation advocacy and watchdog organization. We just returned from presenting at the European Society or Organ Transplantation’s conference on the ethical, legal and psychological aspects of transplantation.
Please let us set the record straight. Nearly the entire medical community is in unanimous agreement that deceased donation is a safe, ethical, and morally right for society. As we do not claim to be experts (which the previous author incorrectly claimed), we will point you in the direction of the American Medical Association’s Transplantation Code of Ethics (the AMA is composed of more than 240,000 medical professions), which outlines the precautions and tests which ensure that the proper care, respect, and measures are taken with every patient and their family.
Yes, organs cannot be procured from a decomposing body. They must be procured from what is called a ‘controlled death.’ In the unfortunate circumstance where multiple independent doctors concur that a daughter will never come home to her parents (such as brain death or cardiac arrest), the family is confronted with an informed, consensual, and moral decision to pass on the gift of life.
The author suggests that ‘brain death’ is fabricated by a mass-medical conspiracy to “ensure a steady flow of fresh organs for transplantation from truly living donors under the guise of ‘brain death’.” This is not only preposterous and insulting to the thousands of medical physicians, nurses, surgeons, and ethicists involved in transplantation, but also genuinely alarming that a nurse would have the audacity to claim such a blatant lie. Would the author confront the parents of a deceased donor with her claim that they murdered their child? Should brain dead patients stay on life support in perpetuity? Is her suggestion that no deceased donation should occur leaving tens of thousands on the footsteps of death? Would she be willing to confront those innocent victims?
Organ donation has given tens of thousands of men, women, and children the gift of life and even the gift of sight. It is therefore very unfortunate that many who have perfect vision, are still blinded by ignorance.
Cody Maynard, Director of Research and Policy
Lisa Emmott, Director of Media Outreach
Ned Brooks, Founder and CEO
To the Editor,
As an active advocate for organ and tissue donation for the last 8 years, I felt the need to respond to a letter to the editor article published on June 6th by Emily Sparks. Twenty people die every day in the United States waiting for life-saving organs. It is important to educate the public about the life-saving power of organ donation, dispel the myths around it, and honor those donors who have given the gift of life by providing factual information that helps people make their own informed decisions.
I have spoken to many family members of organ donors about their pride knowing their loved one lives on in another by having given the gift of life. I also know many organ transplant recipients who wake up every day thanking their personal angel for saving their lives. They spend every day grateful for the extra days they have with their loved ones.
I want to specifically address the letter’s comments regarding brain death. When a patient is brain dead, the heart can continue to beat if it is connected to a ventilator. Extensive and ongoing medical tests are then administered to determine if there is any brain activity. If there is no brain activity, the person is declared dead. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that a diagnosis of brain death “is death and it is irreversible. Someone who is brain dead cannot recover.”
For more information on brain death please refer to this website: https://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20140103/brain-dead-faq#1
To get more information on organ donation or to register to be a donor please visit: www.donors1.org
Kidney Donor , Ambassador Volunteer for the Gift of Life