Have You Got the Guts?

The Toronto Star ran a piece this morning about how Torontonians have the lowest rate of organ donation in the province.

The theory as to why this is comes down to the size of the community – it’s easier to ignore the issues of your neighbours in a city, whereas in a small town, specific occurrences of someone needing an organ tend to be widely publicized, and people know one another so there is more empathy.

The article also suggests that many people don’t register because it’s too difficult, especially if you have an older-style health card. But it’s not, really – to register to be an organ donor go to the Trillium Gift of Life Network, where you can download forms to register and get a donor card.

And while you’re at it, why not consider also donating you body to medical research? Generally organ donation precludes this option, but if you can’t be an organ donor, you can still be a crash test dummy, or have your tissue studied, or maybe your feet can be used by chiropody students to learn how to do nail extractions. I know, some of this sounds kind of creepy… but remember, you’ll be dead anyway. The best way to do this is contact the anatomy department of your university of choice. They’ll send you the necessary paperwork to register.

The Trillium Gift of Life Network indicates that 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives – and the number of lives that will be changed beyond those 8 is astronomical. We may not know the people our organs go to save – but think of how you’d feel if someone you love was saved because of the generosity of an organ donor.

Sure, people can come up with lots of reasons not to donate organs… but they all defy logic to me. If you’ve got ‘em and you’re not using ‘em and someone else needs them – then it’s a crime to not share.

Ideally, what I’d like to see is a system where you have to register and carry a card if you refuse to donate your organs. Where it is assumed that your organs are available if you’re dead and they can be used. All the naysayers who think it’s creepy or who cite religion as a reason to not donate – those folks are the ones who should have to justify their decision to society by carrying a card.

If you do nothing else of value this week, please at least check out the links above and register to donate your organs and/or your body to science.