Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 20, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

ORGAN HARVESTING....As regular readers know, I don't usually find much common ground with the folks at National Review. On the issue of killing people to harvest their organs, though, I think they have the right position:

If confidence is to be maintained in the organ-procurement system, we need to establish a binding, uniform national standard of testing for determining death by neurological criteria....Most importantly, these uniform standards must reiterate the irrevocable requirement that vital, non-paired whole organ donors be really and truly dead before their body parts are procured.

Yes. Organ donors should be really and truly dead before we cut out their organs. Finally, something NR and I can agree on.

So what brought this on, anyway? Apparently a coroner and an enterprising district attorney in Colorado think that several organs were recently removed from a guy in their jurisdiction who was pretty-close-but-not-quite-dead at the time his organs were removed. Maybe. The author then rather alarmingly suggests that we are currently on a dangerous slippery slope regarding deadness by quoting a couple of doctors who have proposed that "dead" should be defined a bit differently than it is now.

Unfortunately, he follows this with a reference to Terri Schiavo, which in this context I would normally take as a Godwin's Law violation, thus bringing the whole article into terminal disrepute. But maybe not. The evidence seems awfully thin, but perhaps an organ donor expert could step in and let us know if there really are serious moves afoot to redefine "death" in order to expedite organ harvesting.

How about it, Kieran?

UPDATE: Answer here.

Kevin Drum 6:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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