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Organ donation
Should families be able to veto a donor's wish?


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#1 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:02 PM

Interesting article about whether a grieving family should have the right to veto the wishes of a registered organ donor.

http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/should...organ-donation/

Two years ago I watched a close family member pass away from horrific injuries after he was declared brain-dead and had his life support was switched off. He was a registered organ donor. It never occured to me or other family to override his clearly expressed wishes to donate his organs and tissue. Unfortunately, he had suffered too many injuries for his organs to be donated so in the end it was a moot point. We were disappointed for my family member, as it was what he had always wanted to have happen.

Having watched the care and extensive process with check after re-check taken by the medical staff during the process of my family member being declared brain-dead, I don't have the fear of life prematurely being ended by organ-hungry doctors.

I strongly believe that if an individual has registered to be an organ donor, family should not be able to veto their instructions. My only qualification is that parents of a child under 18 should retain the final say in regards to donation of their child's organs (I would think this is the case anyway- I would presume registered donors must be over 18?)

What are other people's views?

#2 FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:06 PM

I'm with you, OP, for the points you made.

This thread will be interesting in light of a recent thread on adhering to "last requests" or promises - from memory, most said they'd agree at the time to a last request from a dying relative but NOT fulfill it necessarily because the person would be presumably none the wiser!

#3 GoBack2Bed

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:16 PM

I very passionately and vehemently oppose family being able to override my decision to donate organs. I made the decision it should be adhered to. I personally think the whole system should be EVERYONE is automatically an organ donor unless they opt OUT of the system.

I've told my whole family repeatedly my wishes. My parents told me they would never agree to it. So my husband knows he absolutely has to agree with it which he will.



#4 CallMeProtart

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

I agree the wishes of the owner (or ex owner!) of the organs should be respected. The family doesn't (without considerable complication) get to veto their wills - why should they get to veto their organ donation.

I think there are certainly cases where this could be traumatic for the families involved, and that is a shame. But the same can be said for wills, and they don't get to override those. I don't see it as drastic at all - in fact it seems kind of obvious.

#5 GoBack2Bed

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:23 PM

Blossom77 excuse my ignorance as I've not been in your position before but my understanding is that it's extremely raw and difficult to make the decision to donate because the family is asked. If it is documented that the person planned to donate then shouldn't it just be signing the final paperwork rather than actually deciding?

#6 ubermum

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

I personally think that donation should be an opt out, rather than opt in system. As for the family having the last say, I would be extremely annoyed if mine didn't honor my wishes. They know my feelings, the husbands of one of my best friends died on a transplant waiting list.

#7 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:25 PM

QUOTE (Blossom77 @ 22/01/2013, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am on the organ donor register, but I would remove my name if my family were not able to make the final decision.  I have expressed my views, and I hope that they will be honoured, but I do not wish my views to be forced on my family if they find the situation too distressing.  I have also been through the process of donating the organs of someone I loved very much.  It was incredibly raw and difficult.  If I drop dead tomorrow and my family simply cannot face having my organs donated, then I would hate for them to be further traumatised by the issue being forced.  I can't imagine the distress it would cause if their views were overridden.  

My autonomy doesn't continue after I'm dead at the expense of the feelings of the people I love the most.  I am confident they will abide by my wishes, but if when the time comes they don't feel they can handle it, so be it.  I consider their feelings more important than my wishes.


While I see your point, I don't necessarily agree. It is just not a deceased person's wishes versus those of their family, it is a deceased person's wishes, plus the numerous lives their donation may save or improve versus those of their family. I do acknowledge trauma and grief make things very hard but I maintain that the donation should go ahead regardless.

#8 Pearson

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

QUOTE (mummy09 @ 22/01/2013, 05:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I very passionately and vehemently oppose family being able to override my decision to donate organs. I made the decision it should be adhered to. I personally think the whole system should be EVERYONE is automatically an organ donor unless they opt OUT of the system.



QUOTE (ubermum @ 22/01/2013, 05:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I personally think that donation should be an opt out, rather than opt in system. As for the family having the last say, I would be extremely annoyed if mine didn't honor my wishes. They know my feelings, the husbands of one of my best friends died on a transplant waiting list.



My bold above - It should be opt out, not opt in. The family should not be given the option to override the persons wishes whatsoever.
Besides, organ donation, for lack of a better synonym, is a fantastic form of recycling.  Imagine how many peoples lives you could save.


#9 *Spikey*

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

I've warned my family that if they disregard my wishes in respect of organ donation (I choose to donate anything and everything that is needed), then I will return from the dead to haunt them until their dying days.

It should be an opt out system for deceased persons. Opt in for 'live person' transplants.



#10 RHJ

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:43 PM

I agree with you girls. Should be opt out not opt in, and people shouldn't be given the chance to override the decisions of the deceased. My brother doesn't want his donated (for what I believe are stupid reasons) but I will always respect his wishes in regard to that as it is his body- and I am sure he will respect mine if he ever had to make the decision. But yes- it shouldn't be an option for him or me to decide for the other.

#11 WinterDancesHere

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:47 PM

QUOTE (FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog @ 22/01/2013, 06:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This thread will be interesting in light of a recent thread on adhering to "last requests" or promises - from memory, most said they'd agree at the time to a last request from a dying relative but NOT fulfill it necessarily because the person would be presumably none the wiser!


I was thinking this as well. I think there might be a double standard here.

I have had the conversation with DH and hope he respects my wishes should it ever be an issue. I will respect his even though we differ.

My cousin died when I was young while on the waiting list, and my uncles life was saved by donation. When I am gone I am gone and if I can save someone that is the best thing that could happen.

#12 CrunchyNut

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

If you're a registered donor then no the family should not have any right to over ride it!

#13 la di dah

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

I know my parents would override and say no but my husband knows I want to donate and said he'll look after that.

#14 ILBB

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

QUOTE
I very passionately and vehemently oppose family being able to override my decision to donate organs. I made the decision it should be adhered to. I personally think the whole system should be EVERYONE is automatically an organ donor unless they opt OUT of the system.
This! Plus - like Spikey I have also told my family if they go against my wishes then I too will haunt them! I will be dead. If someone can benefit from my body - then I want it to be of use.

#15 liveworkplay

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

QUOTE
I strongly believe that if an individual has registered to be an organ donor, family should not be able to veto their instructions.


I agree.

I also think we should have an opt out rather then opt in system as well.

#16 babybeli

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

As someone on the waiting list for an organ I just want to say what a fantastic gift organ donation is.  Its a chance for a second life for many and for some unfortunately it won't come soon enough.  I know it's selfish but I want to see my children grow up and would be forever grateful to anyone that gave me that opportunity.

#17 ~*Twilight~Zone*~

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

I was contacted about donating my DH's cornea's (couldn't do organs as there was too long between his death and when the organ would still be viable) and I agreed whole heartedly as my view was they weren't any use him any longer and the thought of something good happening after his death made it feel better IYKWIM.  

I will admit though I think it was easier for me to make the decision because it was an adult rather than a child.  I actually don't think I could of agreed to it if the decision had to be made about one of my children.

So what I am trying to say whilst it might ethically be the right thing to do, it just may not be the right thing to do emotionally for those left behind.

Also I know full well how organ donations save lives, a close family member is currently awaiting a donor organ, their second one.  Currently their life is hanging in the balance whilst they wait so organ donation is a big part of our family.

#18 CFMummy

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

I think all organs should be used if the dececed is/was a doner regardles of other familys wishes. It is/was the wish of the doner. I also think it should be opt out not optin. We may be relying on a doner in future years for our DD2 I would hate for her to lose her life because family was selfish and didnt want to donate. as the sying goes Dont take your organs to heaven cause heaven knows we need them here

#19 Mamabug

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:03 PM

Which family member/s have the legal right to override the deceased's wishes?

If married, is it only the spouse who has that legal right?

#20 lizzie04

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

There are not many things I am as passionate about as organ donation, and I hate the fact my family might be able to override it. I vehemently believe it should be opt out - it just seems to get harder though to make a definitive statement while I am alive that will be 100% followed? What else can I do?

#21 JAPN2

Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:10 PM

QUOTE (Blossom77 @ 22/01/2013, 06:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My autonomy doesn't continue after I'm dead at the expense of the feelings of the people I love the most.  I am confident they will abide by my wishes, but if when the time comes they don't feel they can handle it, so be it.  I consider their feelings more important than my wishes.

I think that's a quite beautiful sentiment.

I agree that after death the family is the one to pick up the pieces and deal with it. Often the death of donors is in quite tragic circumstances and unless I stand in their shoes I can't know how they feel.


#22 Jembo

Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

I also wish it was an opt out system instead of opt in. I have told my family if they overide my wishes I would haunt them original.gif.  

I lost my close friend a year ago who was waiting for a transplant and upon her passing was an organ donor herself.  

I could never imagine them doing it because they know how strong I feel and they all watched my friend suffer as well and are very for organ donation.

#23 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

I am a registered organ donor and my family knows it, ad nauseum.  While it's not my mother's thing, I know DH would step in if she tried to stop it.  If DH wasn't around, I reckon my brother and sister would instead.

QUOTE (Blossom77 @ 22/01/2013, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My autonomy doesn't continue after I'm dead at the expense of the feelings of the people I love the most.  I am confident they will abide by my wishes, but if when the time comes they don't feel they can handle it, so be it.  I consider their feelings more important than my wishes.

I can identify with this.  However, all the more reason why I think it is important for families to talk about this on occasion.  So people get used to the idea, realise how strongly you feel about it.  Realise how disappointed you would be if they stopped it.  That they realise the implication for other families that you want to help.  So that your family don't overturn your intentions, as much as they may not choose that for themselves.

I am also one who would prefer an opt-out system rather than the existing opt-in system.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 22 January 2013 - 09:50 PM.


#24 I'm Batman

Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:57 PM

I dont know if my mother is an organ donor not but I would donate her organs, she has funny religious ideals but at the end of the day she doesnt believe the body does anything other then die.

If she expressed to me she never wanted it done i would feel different

#25 bluecardigans

Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:24 PM

Apologies for reviving and old(ish) thread, but I am very supportive of an opt out process being implemented in Australia.  I came across this WA paper and was wondering if anyone knew if it actually went anywhere? WA Organ donation Opt out




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