Regardless of the country and its conversion rate, all medical communities want to improve their organ donation participants. Israel has a very low rate of ten percent. By comparison, Britain is at 25% and the United States in near 40%. Spain has the highest rate due to their program, in which all citizens are automatically donors unless they actively opt-out.
So Israel has devised a plan to increase their numbers. According to The Independent, Israel is about to become the first country in the world to encourage citizens to sign organ donor cards by rewarding them with priority status should they later need a transplant.
According to the plan, which was published in The Lancet, those who have signed donor cards and their spouses and siblings are to be given priority for transplants. Patients requiring an urgent heart, lung or liver transplant because of the gravity of their condition will continue to be given priority status, regardless of whether they or their relatives have signed donor cards. But if two people in urgent need are found to be equally suitable candidates, the person who signed the card or his relatives will get the organ transplant.
The authors of the article justify their decision to bypass the traditional principle that medical care should be given in accordance with medical need by saying “If this policy results in the procurement of more organs for transplant, then it promotes a different but nonetheless important goal of modern medicine: achievement of maximum health.”
A similar deal is available in the United States from an organ donor network named LifeSharers.
If you agree to offer your organs first to other LifeSharers members, you’ll get preferred access to the organs of every other member of the network. As the LifeSharers network expands, your chances of getting an organ if you ever need one keep going up — if you are a member. LifeSharers already has over 13,000 members.
Giving organs first to organ donors creates an incentive for non-donors to become donors. This increases the supply of organs and saves more lives. Saving the maximum number of lives should be the primary goal of our organ donation/transplantation system.
Giving organs first to organ donors also makes the system fairer. People who aren’t willing to donate their own organs should go to the back of the transplant waiting list as long as there is an organ shortage.
If you want to donate your organs to other organ donors, you can join LifeSharers at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. Membership is free. There is no age limit. No one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.
David J. Undis