Story Archives

Story Archives
Use the calendars below to start from the very beginning:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Microstory 913: Blood/Organ Donation

When I was getting my first driver’s license, someone at the DMV was explaining to me what it meant to be an organ donor, and acting as if I had a choice. It was years before I started realizing that there are actually a fair number of people who choose to not be donors, which perplexes me. Why would you not want that? My instinct was that the majority of them are religious, and believe giving away parts of their former bodies is somehow going to hurt their conditions in the magical flying spaghetti monsterland, or wherever it is they think they’re going for chanting nonsense once a week. As it turns out, religion is a common reason people have in favor of becoming donors. So maybe it’s that many are so spiteful and misanthropic that, in one final middle finger to the world, they’re going to make sure their deaths lead to nothing good. Eh, those kinds of people aren’t as plentiful as it might seem. The truth is that there are many other reasons to check the wrong box. People get a lot of their education from glamorized television; this case being medical dramas. The rumor is that a doctor won’t save your life if your organs can be donated. This absurdity relies on the doctor making a choice between yours, and someone else’s life. What do you suppose the criteria are, and what makes you think you wouldn’t win? This is also related to a mistrusts in doctors, and medical science as a whole.  I guess I get that to some extent, because I’ve never met a doctor that I liked. But while there are outliers, every single one of them in the Western world took some modern form of the Hippocratic oath, and that’s not something to be ignored. The fact is that you don’t need your heart and kidneys after death, so there is no legitimate reason to try to literally take them to your grave. I do want to speak on some related issues that need to be addressed. As medical science improves, and life comes with more safety protocols, we face an even greater shortage of viable donors. People are living longer, and more easily surviving physical traumas, which means there are fewer to go around. And while this often means treatment can exclude the necessity of an organ transplant, it doesn’t preclude it entirely. We still need them, and you can help. In the future, we’ll be able to print organs in a medical synthesizer, using cells harvested from the patient themselves, to avoid any compatibility issues. But until then, do one thing for me; check that donation consent box. God forbid you die, but if you ever do, you could save up to eight lives, and improve the lives of a hundred more. And look at it this way, if you end up donating everything possible, you’ll be put to rest seven pounds* lighter than you were when you died.

*The totality of the organs you’re capable of donating upon death actually adds up to less than four pounds, but your scale is broken anyway, right? How do I do a winky face?

No comments :

Post a Comment