Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The world is looking more and more like a Larry Niven novel,

down to the "We really need to make it easier to harvest organs.  No matter what." attitude:
The world of organ donation in Denmark is in turmoil. A documentary was aired earlier this month which showed family members reacting in anguish to the news that their 19-year-old daughter was brain dead after a car accident, agreeing to donate her organs and allowing doctors to turn off her respirator. About 1.7 million viewers tuned in to the heart-rending drama.
But Carina Melchior did not die after her respirator was removed. She is now undergoing rehabilitation and may make a full recovery. About 500 people immediately removed their names from Denmark’s organ donor register.
The hospital acknowledged that the question of organ donation should not have been raised as there were no unambiguous signs that brain death would occur. New guidelines have been introduced to ensure that relatives will only be approached about organ donation if no more treatment options are available. There was no risk of a false diagnosis of brain death, the hospital insisted.
Translation: "Someone thought it would be better to take her organs than see if she'd recover, and we got caught."

In some of Niven's novels, as organ transplants became easier to do, there was more of a demand for organs, so the government(for the good of the collective, of course) began using criminals as sources.  Started out with murderers, and then- especially as the connected and powerful needed transplants- as demand rose, the crime level necessary to get you sentenced to the organ banks dropped lower and lower...

Right now we're seeing the abuse of the Liverpool Care Pathway in Britain to get rid of older patients and free up beds, and people in some countries getting a shove along the assisted-death path even when they don't want to, or the officials 'neglected' or 'forgot' to inform the family, and the world is well on the road.


Bob said...

I remember reading of cases in the 90's where people would wake up in alleys with liver or kidneys missing, not so much lately. We're on the verge of being able to grow organs from stem cells, so Niven's predictions might not come about, or might do so in a more limited fashion than he envisioned.

Firehand said...

I certainly hope that pans out; along with taking care of rejection problems, would reduce the desire of some people to 'make use of the organs of the no-longer-useful' and such.

Windy Wilson said...

This made me think of "Ich Klage An", a propaganda film from Germany in the 30's about euthanasia. Organ "harvesting" would be another motive for ridding oneself of "useless eaters".
Ich Klage An is still banned in Germany because the deck was stacked so perfectly in the film it makes a powerful case for euthanasia even if the afflicted one does not want to go.
Can it really be organ harvesting if the grower has to donate, and only the thresher, miller transporter, and seller can charge for their services and the buyer must pay? Maybe theft is the real term.