Sir John and the Knights of the Long Table

Eleven of us live here at beautiful Schamelot, and we have a small 20 acre farm of chickens, emus, two dogs, 13 or so cats and a cockateil named Sassafrass.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Vital Organ Donation

The donation of vital organs, as opposed to paired or non-vital organs such as a lung, a kidney or the corneas of the eyes, amounts to assisted suicide and is therefore immoral and should be outlawed.

Most organ donors believe that their organs will be harvested only after they’re dead. The fact is that dead people only contain dead organs and dead organs cannot be transplanted. The current practice of organ harvesting is to remove from the not-yet-dead patient those organs, which, in the doctor’s private judgment, will be put to better use in another person’s body. The removal of these organs is actually the direct cause of the death of the person and is therefore murder.

Proponents of organ donation are quick to use the slippery slope of brain deadness as a safety net against accusations of murder. They argue that once the brain is no longer capable of supporting the vital functions of the body, the person is dead. But since science cannot definitely say when the soul leaves the body, just as it cannot be certain when the soul enters the body, one must err on the side of life, as we do with the unborn child, and protect innocent life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Having one’s heart removed while it is still beating is not a natural death.

Removing the feeding tube from a legally brain dead Terry Schiavo is no different from removing the still beating heart or breathing lungs from any other brain dead patient. Besides, there are many documented cases of patients who would meet the criteria for organ retrieval established by the medical community, but whose organs are not harvested, and who are allowed God’s good time, suddenly returning to consciousness and fully recovering. This is strong evidence that currently accepted medical definition of death does not necessarily constitute the separation of the soul from the body, followed by divine judgment, Heaven or Hell—which is the true Catholic definition of death.

Furthermore, the medical definition of death has been artificially manipulated numerous times to allow for greater and greater leeway in harvesting organs. Years ago death was declared after the heart stopped beating, depriving the other organs of life giving oxygen. However, since those organs could not be transplanted, a new medical definition of death, called “brain death criteria,” had to be developed so that the organ harvesting industry could thrive. Incidently, doctors are now admitting that the brain dead patient is still alive, but argue, like Macchiavelli, that the good of harvesting his organs to save someone else’s life outweighs the evil of causing his death by harvesting those organs.

Also among advocates of vital-organ donation, the “quality of life” issue is a stronghold, although an inherent contradiction. To argue that the quality of life of the brain dead patient is so poor that he would be better off donating his organs to a healthier patient is to admit that the brain dead person is in fact alive, still capable of doing himself a favor by allowing his doctors to kill him.

In conclusion, I propose that legislation be enacted to outlaw vital-organ donation and allow non-vital organ donors to specify on their drivers licenses or elsewhere which non-vital organs they wish to donate, and under which circumstances.

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