Suggested Comments on Organ Donation

Suggested Comments to the Board of Directors of the Organ Procedure and Transplant Network (OPTN) objecting to the Proposed Amendment on Organ Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD) Model Elements 

As someone deeply concerned about the dignity and worth of people with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable members of society, I urge UNOS to reject the proposed changes to the Model Elements for organ donation. Simply put, the changes seek to expedite the process of organ donation and expand the organ pool at the expense of disabled persons on life support.

Three consequences of the proposed changes give me particular concern:

First, the primary health care team and organ procurement organization staff may examine hospitalized patients on life-support to determine their suitability for organ donation without such patients’ or their families’ knowledge or consent, even though such patients are not necessarily terminal or near death;

Second, if determined medically suitable, the hospital may initiate a request to the family for organ donation before the decision to withdraw such patient’s life-support is made;

Third, an organ procurement organization is not required to condition eligibility for organ donation on assurances that a conscious patient’s decision to have life-support withdrawn is voluntary and not a product of clinical depression.

Making organ transplants more available is unquestionably a laudable objective. But it cannot justify singling out disabled people on life-support as donation candidates since it would unavoidably rest on the assumption that their lives are less valuable than those of other persons.

Thank you for your serious consideration.

for a printable pdf of the suggested comments.

Comments are due by June 15, 2012. Please ACT NOW.

To submit comments, click here [http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/policiesAndBylaws/publicComment/proposals.asp]

and then click on “Go” at #9 “Proposal to Update and Clarify Language in the DCD Model Elements (OPO Committee). You will be asked to provide personal information, and whether you “Support, Oppose, No opinion.” There is also a box provided for comments.

If you wish to read the full proposed changes, click here: http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/PublicComment/pubcommentPropSub_309.pdf