Taking Moniques debate a bit further! Organ donation and ethnicity

[deleted account] ( 34 moms have responded )

I just read Monique's debate about organ donation, and it reminded me of a topic i did in my first year philosophy class.
the question is this: "If you become an organ doner, should you be able to choose the ethnicity of the person your organs go to?"
My initial response was 'no way! thats racism' but after looking deeper into it, I guess it is an AMAZING gift of life that you are giving to someone, a gift that you are giving by choice and one that you do not have to give.
If for example, a Maori woman from NZ is dying (im from NZ but not Maori. Maori are very much into their culture though), and she says she wants her organs to be passed to another person on Maori heritage, is that really too much to ask of the woman who is going to save this other persons life? I don't have an answer to this, I'm on the fence! What do you think?

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Cassie - posted on 01/26/2011

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If I am not mistaken, people who are up to receive an organ donation, must meet certain requirements to make sure that 1. their body will accept the organ and 2. their lifestyle will allow them to keep the organ in good health. I don't think that they allow alcoholics, drug addicts, those with an eating disorder, etc to receive an organ donation. (I may be wrong on this but I'm pretty sure there are requirements for receiving an organ.)

[deleted account]

I can't believe that people would actually suggest that his life is any less important. That should not be a reason to not donate IMO.

Meghan - posted on 01/26/2011

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I think maybe Janessa and Nikkole have said what I could articulate about it, Joy :)

Janessa - posted on 01/26/2011

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I wish I could put a restriction on my organs because I do not want someone who does not deserve it to get it because they were on a list. My view is people who do not take care of themselves do not deserve organ donations it is not fair for someone who us healthy and who takes care of themselves or just because of genetics have to loose to an alcoholic ect.

[deleted account]

I think the only time it would be "ok" with me for someone to put a restriction on their organ donation is if, say someone was dying and they knew that their loved one needed a lung or a kidney or whatever and they wanted that specific person to get that specific organ. But other than that, I don't think it's cool to restrict who gets what (based on ethnicity) after they are dead. I can accept though, that in other cultures, people feel differently.

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[deleted account]

Like LaCi pointed out I was under the impression that generally organs were a best match to people from the same race, although yes people can match someone from another race. I think it is really selfish and racist to say I will only donate if the person is the same race as me, so I will only donate to a white British person or I will not donate at all, it shouldn't matter whose life you save, everyone on the lists has been deemed acceptable to be given a donor when one is a match. Although if it was to go to someone on death row that seems kind of pointless to me because that person is going to die regardless, what a waste of an organ.

If there was someone in your family or friends (or even just someone you knew) that needed a donor for something that you could provide because you were dying, then that is completely different to say (if you are a match) I will only donate to... because you are donating to someone you care about not a stranger based on their ethnicity.

Mary - posted on 01/28/2011

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Okay - a question for those of you who think a recovering alcoholic or drug abuser is not as worthy or deserving of an organ transplant because they caused the damage themselves.

What if it was you brother or sister, who, in a moment of utter despair, swallowed a bottle of tylenol in an attempt to end their life? They don't die immediately, but they have blown out their liver, and will die without a transplant.

Do you think they are less deserving as well? After all, not only is their damage self-inflicted, but they were consciously trying to end their life. The alcoholic, however was battling the physical and psychological DISEASE of addiction. They underwent treatment, and were able to stop. They were not drinking with the intent of killing them self....the liver damage was an unintentional consequence of their addiction.

A substance abuser who is still currently using alcohol or drugs is NOT placed on the transplant list; it is only those who have been clean for a certain period of time (and not just because they have been hospitalized due to liver failure) in order to be considered for a transplant.

Sal - posted on 01/28/2011

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they should go to the best match...it is the ultimate gift and i wouldn't want it to go to waste by it not going to the very best match

Janessa - posted on 01/27/2011

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I do not care what race someone is I should have posted with my other post. But I do care if the person did not take care of themselves and needs an organ I have a problem with that because someone who is takes cares of themselves well and has to wait on the list because some other person that abuse their bodies for years gets it.



Like my younger sister she was born with a heart defect not her fault or my mothers it is due to genetics someone like that might need a new heart but someone who does not eat healthy, is a drunk, or abuse drugs should not be the first in line to get an organ. Also with the race issue majority of people are very mixed so if someone has to recieve oragns from the same race someone mentioned how would they know someone is black, white asian or anyone in between? my soon is black and white so would get an organ from the same person of the same race background. I do not even know if I am actually black with the racial mixs that is going in latin america. My question is how would someone know someone is that race by just looking at them you cannot determained that.

[deleted account]

dude you're gonna be dead when someone gets your organs anyway, why would you care who gets them? i'm an organ donor. if i die, someone will get my organs and maybe live a little longer. big whoop, i won't care what color their skin is or who they worship or where they came from, or even what they did. i will be dead, and they won't be. if anything, it'd be the one getting the organs who might have a preference. but really, we all bleed the same color so why does it matter as long as the blood is the same type.

Tracey - posted on 01/27/2011

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My friend used to work at the health department that coordinated transplants and said that organs are better accepted by the new body if they go to someone of the same race. However that was a few years ago so medicine may have advanced since then.

Meghan - posted on 01/26/2011

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see, I didn't know that there was criteria. And I don't want to speak for everyone but for me (not knowing there was criteria) its not that a drunk WOULDN'T deserve it, but someone else may be more deserving? I dunno. I defiantly am thinking about it a little differently. Something to think about, thanks guys.

[deleted account]

P.S. I'm not sure why there is two very similar posts in DM about organ donation....I know they're technically different but it's confusing me. I can't remember what I said in which thread. ACK!

Jenn - posted on 01/26/2011

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I don't think you should be able to pick and choose - just give it to the first person on the waiting list. What if you only wanted it to go to a certain race, but that person was 3rd on the list, so the first person on the list gets the shaft and it's too late - now they're dead. If I'm dead anyway, I don't care who gets what.

Cyndel - posted on 01/26/2011

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What about someone who was a drunk for 20 years, dried up only to find a couple years later that his liver was failing because of his past? wouldn't he be allowed on? I've heard of it before? I would disagree with giving it to him, Yes he is doing better and is dried out but he spent 20 years filling his body with crap and not caring.

[deleted account]

Cassie is correct about recipients having to meet certain criteria. Who cares where your organ is going -- it's potentionally saving a life. A drunk wouldn't make it on the list.

LaCi - posted on 01/26/2011

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For a genetic match to be made it's already likely that the organ will go to someone of the donors race, because the genetic makeup is more likely to match. Not to say cross-racial donations don't happen, they do, absolutely, but TYPICALLY a match is going to be made between two people with similar genetic makeup, and it's more likely that similar genetic makeup will be between two people with similar backgrounds.



I think it's fine, because it's already likely. At the same time, I don't think it's fine, because it's not something that should be encouraged. If that makes sense. Not to mention haw difficult it can be to match it, and if there are only one or two matches who don't fit the dead person's criteria, then what? The organ goes with them? Silly.

[deleted account]

It reminds me of that greys anatomy episode where the guy on death row was legally entitled to get an organ, leaving an innocent child to die. That was one intense episode haha

Nikkole - posted on 01/26/2011

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I would put the restriction (if you could) that child molesters or rapist or murders or drug abusers could NOT get my organs i want it to go to someone who deserves it i dont want a piece of me in someone evil!

Becky - posted on 01/26/2011

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No, I don't think it's okay to restrict who your organs go to. But, if for some reason, it was very hard for your ethnic group to get organ donations, then I can see why you might do it. Maybe others are saying, "I don't want my organs to go to Maori people" or it's difficult for them to get organ transplants for some reason? Then I could understand why she would do it.

[deleted account]

Of course they shouldn't get to pick who gets their organs when they die. If it's a match, it's a match.

Meghan - posted on 01/26/2011

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I should have spoken more clearly-I have no problem with other's choice to do it-I think it is a really amazing thing to do but for ME (and I really have no valid reason) I wouldn't want to donate my organs to anyone besides my son or my mom.

[deleted account]

yeah thats the thing aye Joy, we are all in this debate looking at it from a western perspective (well most of us)

[deleted account]

haha im picking it apart too! I can see both sides, but i think if i had to choose, id say it is wrong. but can definitely see both angles

Meghan - posted on 01/26/2011

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well the only person I would donate an organ to would be my son or my mother...so I chose not to go on a list...BUT that doesn't mean that in the case you are talking about she couldn't find a community and OFFER it (being a smaller organ anyway) or make some sort of private legal contract for a particular family. HA, totally just picked that apart and don't know if that is realistic at all...

[deleted account]

I see what your saying, and i agree, but then in a way i do see the other side (we got so deep in this debate in class! it got really intense!). so if someone said 'I want to give my organs to another Maori or not at all' (which is a bit stink but hey, it could happen!) then what? say 'ok dont bother' or take her up on the offer of donating them to the people she wants to give them too?

Meghan - posted on 01/26/2011

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I don't believe in organ donation...and I defiantly don't think someone should be able to pick and chose who the organs go to. That kind of defeats the purpose of a good deed doesn't it?

Johnny - posted on 01/26/2011

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Absolutely not. Organs should go to the best match with the most need. If you are a living donor specifically choosing to give up one of your organs while you still might need it, then I think you can have a choice. But if you're going to donate your organs once you're done with them, I don't think one really should be so selfish and ethnocentric. I don't care what your ethnicity is or how you feel about it, condemning another human being to possible death just to promote your own people is just a very small form of genocide.

Sherri - posted on 01/26/2011

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No you should not. If you are an organ donor it should go to the first match on the organ donors list.

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