This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Organ Donor Badge

Organ Donor Badge - Comments

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 1 by DocWebster

They already have those bracelets for first responders so they know if you have a major medical condition, I don't see why they can't do the same thing for Donors. I was going to get a notarized tattoo on my butt to certify my donor status but it wouldn't count in my state, I did get props from the notary because she was a donor too.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 20:56:49 UTC | #922189

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 2 by Schrodinger's Cat

Organ donation is yet another of those things which I would likely do, but really don't feel at all ethically comfortable about. There tends to be an argument that something that is necessary is ipso facto OK, but I've come to the conclusion that some things may be justified by neccessity but are still in some sense 'wrong'.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:49:28 UTC | #922213

"'s Avatar Comment 3 by "

Good idea? Yes, but you try to find a supplier of such badges! I've found stickers, t-shirts, leaflets and posters, but no badges yet. Anybody got any ideas?

How about a medical emergency bracelet - the information contained in the bracelet would be checked immediately by medical staff - it could just say that you are in good health and wish to be an organ donor in the event of your death.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:59:35 UTC | #922216

foundationist's Avatar Comment 4 by foundationist

Comment 2 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Organ donation is yet another of those things which I would likely do, but really don't feel at all ethically comfortable about. There tends to be an argument that something that is necessary is ipso facto OK, but I've come to the conclusion that some things may be justified by neccessity but are still in some sense 'wrong'.

Sorry, that went totally over my head. Can you spell that out a bit more? What could possibly be wrong in voluntarily offering your organs once you don´t need them anymore to people who do need them desperately? I´m even strongly in favor of legislation making everybody a donor by default, so that people who don´t wan´t to be a donor would have to wear a special card, or the relatives would have to intervene. That would save many many lives and end the obscene organ trade and all that comes with it.

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:43:39 UTC | #922268

jon_the_d's Avatar Comment 5 by jon_the_d

I was thinking of something similar recently. I think a medical bracelet is a good idea as that is somethign they'll check for anyway.

If you did want a badge you can have some made, zazzle.com and other sites provide badge making service on top of t-shirts, hoodies, mugs etc. All you do is provide the image you want on the badge (or whatever).

good idea, spread the message and make people think about it. Perhaps carry a few of the donor leaflets just in case anyone asks you about it. give them the card and registration info there and then!!

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 02:26:34 UTC | #922306

Pete H's Avatar Comment 6 by Pete H

A tattoo would work.

Guys I know used to have tattoos for their blood type, located around where a transfusion insertion would typically be made. But then they were expecting trouble. But it works both ways.

Another guy I’ve met had dotted lines around his throat with the attached legend “cut here”. Not sure if he was of sound mind when instructing the tattooist. You could do the same with an outline around the kidneys etc.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 08:17:39 UTC | #922353

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 7 by DocWebster

Yeah, I knew a guy in Vegas that had a tattoo of a bullet hole on his forehead and "organ donor" tattooed on his fingers, which was cool but he ruined the effect by getting one of those damn finger 'staches. Turned a compelling statement on the modern human condition into just another d-bag attempt at humor.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 11:33:53 UTC | #922396

gordon's Avatar Comment 8 by gordon

I'd love to design one for you (I am an artist). Perhaps it should just say 'cool human', ‘available ape spares’, or maybe just ‘donated with love’.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 18:07:25 UTC | #922507

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 9 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 4 by foundationist

Sorry, that went totally over my head. Can you spell that out a bit more? What could possibly be wrong in voluntarily offering your organs once you don´t need them anymore to people who do need them desperately?

I think if the question needs asking then you are unlikely to grasp the answer.

I´m even strongly in favor of legislation making everybody a donor by default, so that people who don´t wan´t to be a donor would have to wear a special card, or the relatives would have to intervene. That would save many many lives and end the obscene organ trade and all that comes with it.

I would consider such to be a fundamental violation of human rights. If people want to donate their bits, that's up to them, but the notion of ending up with the resultant factories for human disassembly strikes me as having all the appeal of something out of Soylent Green.

http://www.literature.org/authors/shelley-mary/frankenstein/

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 18:53:46 UTC | #922518

danconquer's Avatar Comment 10 by danconquer

The easiest way to increase organ donorship is, as foundationist says, a simple reversal of the current legal presumption. Instead of automatically assuming everyone does not consent to their corpse being put to good use, we should assume that they do. This would be the single most effective change we could implement.

All the while individuals have the right to opt-out, I fail to see what "human rights" issues there are, even leaving to one side the fact that corpses do not enjoy legal rights in the first place.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 19:02:54 UTC | #922520

"'s Avatar Comment 11 by "

Comment 4 by foundationist :

I´m even strongly in favor of legislation making everybody a donor by default, so that people who don´t wan´t to be a donor would have to wear a special card, or the relatives would have to intervene. That would save many many lives and end the obscene organ trade and all that comes with it.

Donor opt out as opposed to donor opt in is currently being considered by the Welsh Government.. They are proposing to start it in 2015.

The general secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Wales said he was in favour of changing the law.

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan is opposed to presumed consent.

Article didn't consult any atheists! I can't see why any rational person would object though.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 19:08:02 UTC | #922521

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 12 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 10 by danconquer

All the while individuals have the right to opt-out, I fail to see what "human rights" issues there are, even leaving to one side the fact that corpses do not enjoy legal rights in the first place.

The corpse may not enjoy legal rights, but the person alive beforehand has the pre-knowledge that their corpse would be used in such manner......which is clearly something that could be said to affect a person here and now.

Given that human rights include people's mental state, any imposition of 'default' donating is clearly a human rights issue.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 19:59:57 UTC | #922530

Layla's Avatar Comment 13 by Layla

Schrodinger,

Before we get into a debate about something more controversial like a change in the law to make organ donation the default, I would like to hear what your objection to voluntary organ donation is in the first place.

It's no good saying you disagree with it, and then when asked why, simply saying you don't think somebody who had to ask would understand.

Presumably you have some reason.

Personally I cannot think why it would pose any ethical problems unless it acted as an incentive for doctors to let someone die rather than continue to try to save them.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:17:51 UTC | #922535

"'s Avatar Comment 14 by "

danconquer

All the while individuals have the right to opt-out, I fail to see what "human rights" issues there are, even leaving to one side the fact that corpses do not enjoy legal rights in the first place.

Precisely! If someone has an irrational issue with allowing organs to be used for the benefit of others then they can carry an opt out card.

From a biological viewpoint, once an organism is dead its tissues are eaten directly or decay and the constituent molecules are reused by other organisms via food webs. In nature a dead organism's tissues will inevitably end up incorporated into the bodies of other organisms.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:32:17 UTC | #922538

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 15 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 13 by Layla

The fact that you don't have a problem with it does not mean that you can automatically take it as a given that nobody should have a problem with it. You might equally as well ask why I don't like tomatoes. I just don't.....I find them distasteful. It is my right to find them distasteful. That is, after all, the true definition of liberalism.

So your assertion that it is somehow unreasonable for there to be anyone who objects to organ donation is like saying it is unreasonable that anyone not like tomatoes, or science fiction stories, or girls with red hair......or any of a multitude of things for which you'd find it quite reasonable that people have different preferences. You might just as well ask a gay man what is his objection to going out with girls.

As regards the whole issue of 'presumed consent', the owner of me is me.....and I object to the preposterous notion that the government can nationalise and own my body until I state otherwise. There really isn't a more fundamental right than that one owns oneself, an ownership that includes consent and any future implication of it.

Frankly, presumed consent is like the guy who rapes an unconscious woman and then argues ' well, she didn't say no so I thought it was OK'

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:48:04 UTC | #922544

"'s Avatar Comment 16 by "

Comment 15 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 13 by Layla

So your assertion that it is somehow unreasonable for there to be anyone who objects to organ donation is like saying it is unreasonable that anyone not like tomatoes, or science fiction stories, or girls with red hair......or any of a multitude of things for which you'd find it quite reasonable that people have different preferences. You might just as well ask a gay man what is his objection to going out with girls.

I've just read Layla's comment 13 several times to try to find the "assertion that it is somehow unreasonable" you mention. It's not there - Layla has simply asked you to state your objection to organ donation, ie your reasons.

In your reply you mention, tomatoes, science fiction, red hair, a gay man, girls, nationalisation, rights, ownership, and guys who rape unconscious women.

Can we presume your reason is somewhere in this list? Or is there something else you're not telling us?!

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 21:23:48 UTC | #922556

Hernan's Avatar Comment 17 by Hernan

I remember that in my country of origin we used to have (still current) a National Identity Card. If you did not want to be an "organ donor" then you had to fill a form and then it was stated (printed) in your National Identity Card that you are "Not an organ donor", otherwise (if nothing is stated) YOU ARE A DONOR!

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 21:28:01 UTC | #922558

"'s Avatar Comment 18 by "

Comment 17 by Hernan :

If you did not want to be an "organ donor" then you had to fill a form and then it was stated (printed) in your National Identity Card that you are "Not an organ donor", otherwise (if nothing is stated) YOU ARE A DONOR!

Very sensible - looks like this method will be implemented in parts of the UK soon too.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 21:31:34 UTC | #922559

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 14 by chimpious

If someone has an irrational issue with.....

One thing I have noticed on this site is the overwhelming tendency of some to assume that their personal opinions constitute the same thing as an ipso facto definition of rationality.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 21:31:42 UTC | #922560

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 20 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 16 by chimpious

I've just read Layla's comment 13 several times to try to find the "assertion that it is somehow unreasonable" you mention. It's not there - Layla has simply asked you to state your objection to organ donation, ie your reasons.

You've sort of missed the point. All these type of issues.....abortion, gay rights, organ donation, etc....are emotive issues. They are not issues for which only one side has an emotive response and the other is totally 'rational'. Life just doesn't work that way. Someone who supports organ donation is just as much ultimately motivated by emotion ( for example the desire to see people live who otherwise might not ) as someone who opposes it. Asking someone to 'provide your objections' is taking a stance that one side is emotion motivated and the other is rationality motivated......that does not reflect reality.

If Auntie Ethel is going to die without a transplant, then the reasons for wanting a transplant are not rational...they are emotive. I could equally ask...please explain your objection to letting Auntie Ethel die.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 22:07:00 UTC | #922573

danconquer's Avatar Comment 21 by danconquer

Comment 15 by Schrodinger's Cat :

As regards the whole issue of 'presumed consent', the owner of me is me.....and I object to the preposterous notion that the government can nationalise and own my body until I state otherwise. There really isn't a more fundamental right than that one owns oneself, an ownership that includes consent and any future implication of it.

But a value judgement is clearly being made here that utilising organs (in a way that is highly beneficial to other members of our species) is somehow qualitatively different in respect of 'human rights' compared to the other possibilities that await your corpse. If you were without any next of kin and dropped dead tomorrow then, in the absence of clear instructions, the state would take ownership and decision-making powers over your body. In the past they would have buried your body, nowadays they are most likely to burn it. In other countries it might be dispatched to the vultures or dogs.

Your body is not going to be cryogenically preserved for an indefinite period just because you didn't leave explicit instructions as to what should be done with it. Given that the state already does dispense with corpses, you need to give clear, rational reasons why transplanting your organs into other people somehow represents a qualitatively different action to destroying those organs. If we are going to regard a corpse as 'property', then why is destruction more acceptable than transplant? In a nutshell: why is it okay for the state to feed your heart to worms, but not okay for the state to use that heart in a medical procedure? Until a rational answer is given to this question, it will remain irrational to say that the former is somehow 'ok' but not the latter.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 22:40:16 UTC | #922585

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 22 by alaskansee

@ many Schrodinger's Cat

I think you seem to have missed the point, you posted that you may donate but have some reservations.

A number of other posters have then asked you to explain.

Please do, I and obviously many others would like to know. Hint we're wondering what clever reason you have that we have foolishly not considered, please put us out of our misery!

Your reasons may seem trivial, petty and emotional to you but we'd still like to know.

thanks in advance.

PS I don't think there is a "correct" answer so relax you're among friends.

PPS If you don't want to answer perhaps not bringing it up in a post would have been the way to go.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 22:53:18 UTC | #922588

Layla's Avatar Comment 23 by Layla

Comment 15 by Schrodinger's Cat

The fact that you don't have a problem with it does not mean that you can automatically take it as a given that nobody should have a problem with it. You might equally as well ask why I don't like tomatoes. I just don't.....I find them distasteful. It is my right to find them distasteful. That is, after all, the true definition of liberalism.

So your assertion that it is somehow unreasonable for there to be anyone who objects to organ donation is like saying it is unreasonable that anyone not like tomatoes, or science fiction stories, or girls with red hair......or any of a multitude of things for which you'd find it quite reasonable that people have different preferences. You might just as well ask a gay man what is his objection to going out with girls.

Where on earth did I say nobody could have a problem with it just because I don't and where did I say that it was unreasonable for there to be anyone who objects to organ donation?

All I did was ask you why you found it ethically uncomfortable and tell you that I personally cannot see why it would be ethically wrong (hence the need to ask in the first place).

Saying something is ethically worrying is slightly different from saying you just dislike it.

If you said that you found tomatoes distasteful I wouldn't ask you to explain why, no, but if you said that you thought eating tomatoes was ethically wrong or if a gay man said he always found heterosexuality to be a bit dodgy morally speaking I'd definitely want to know why.

As regards the whole issue of 'presumed consent', the owner of me is me.....and I object to the preposterous notion that the government can nationalise and own my body until I state otherwise. There really isn't a more fundamental right than that one owns oneself, an ownership that includes consent and any future implication of it.

Frankly, presumed consent is like the guy who rapes an unconscious woman and then argues ' well, she didn't say no so I thought it was OK'

I deliberately set aside the much more controversial issue of whether or not to make donation the default because I just wanted to get to the more fundamental question of why you feel even completely voluntary donation may be problematic. I am sympathetic to your concerns about making donation the legal default and I'm still undecided on it myself.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 23:37:55 UTC | #922596

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 24 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 21 by danconquer

Your body is not going to be cryogenically preserved for an indefinite period just because you didn't leave explicit instructions as to what should be done with it. Given that the state already does dispense with corpses, you need to give clear, rational reasons why transplanting your organs into other people somehow represents a qualitatively different action to destroying those organs. If we are going to regard a corpse as 'property', then why is destruction more acceptable than transplant? In a nutshell: why is it okay for the state to feed your heart to worms, but not okay for the state to use that heart in a medical procedure? Until a rational answer is given to this question, it will remain irrational to say that the former is somehow 'ok' but not the latter.

But can you give me clear, rational reasons why Auntie Ethel should be kept alive by salvaging spare parts from corpses ? No.....you want her kept alive for the emotive reason that it's nice to have her around. So in the first place I don't buy this logic that somehow the rational default lies with your position.

I don't see how one can apply rationality to whether one person's emotive reasons outweigh another's.

There's any number of emotive reasons why a person might object to such usage. I think most have to do with a psychological sense of seeing a person as a whole unit. I could ask, for example, whether you'd be happy to see the hollowed out shell of a partner from whom every usable bit had been removed. I personally dislike the sense in which the person.....the whole...isn't actually dead. Sure, that's my own personal emotive reasons.....but I don't think there's any sense in which it is 'wrong' to feel that way.

This is, after all, merely the 21st century equivalent of what the 19th century grave robbers got up to. I've seen some argue that such activity aided medical research.....and that is undoubtedly true. But the word 'desecration' does not exist without a reason, and it is not simply a religious notion.

I could take the argument to an extreme, but it is certainly one that makes the point, and ask why don't we have Soylent Green ? I mean...what a waste of damned good meat. The response would be that most would be repulsed by the very idea......yet one could argue that that's irrational.

The whole topic is an emotive one on both sides, and I can quite clearly see the other perspective too. I don't think it is a topic for which one can apply the word 'rationality'....and it certainly is not one for which the government should wade in and 'presume' anything.

( I should point out, as with much of my arguing, that this is not a dogmatic posiiton. It's just one of the conflicting voices in my head that holds more sway. Arguing things is one way I decide what is right ).

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 01:09:30 UTC | #922617

"'s Avatar Comment 25 by "

Comment 24 by Schrodinger's Cat :

This is, after all, merely the 21st century equivalent of what the 19th century grave robbers got up to. I've seen some argue that such activity aided medical research.....and that is undoubtedly true. But the word 'desecration' does not exist without a reason, and it is not simply a religious notion.

Desecration is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.

So your objection to organ donation is that utilization of dead bodies for any purpose, albeit very beneficial, is somehow taboo?

One could argue that rather than being disrespectful to a corpse, organ donation is a tribute to the donor, and keeps alive something which otherwise would soon be dead.

You mention that you

dislike the sense in which the person.....the whole...isn't actually dead.

Death is a process; the terms clinical death or brain death, or heart death are just markers in the process which are considered to be points of no return.

I'm grateful to you for stimulating this debate - I'm already an organ donor, but you've got me thinking about how the remainder of my body is disposed of when I die (assuming I die in a way that leaves my organs suitable for donation). I'm going to change my will to leave my body for medical science.

I've found a link to the UK Governments Human Tissue Authority giving details about donating your body to science

It says:

Human bodies are used to teach students about the structure of the body and how it works; they may also be used to train surgeons and other healthcare professionals. ... These donations are highly valued by staff and students at anatomy establishments.

I like the thought about being highly valued after I've popped my cloggs! But that's just my emotional response; intellectually my reason is that I wish to make a small contribution to medical science's mission to reduce human suffering.

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 07:33:51 UTC | #922688

Sample's Avatar Comment 26 by Sample

I'm sympathetic to Schrodinger's Cat's concern regarding government mandating citizens to be donors by default though perhaps for a different reason.

This is what I want to know. Would changing to an opt out system of donation tomorrow substantially negate or even kill the current trend of increasing voluntary donations in the US?

Mike

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 09:07:37 UTC | #922703

BenS's Avatar Comment 27 by BenS

Obviously, the doctor will probably double-check, just in case someone put the badge on me as a joke, but he/she will be urged to check quicker than if they had no idea.

One would hope so. There's little point being signed up for, say, full body cryopreservation if medical staff would spoon your organs out at the mere sight of a badge without bothering to check.

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 09:28:05 UTC | #922706

Layla's Avatar Comment 28 by Layla

Schrodinger,

If you'd said you just didn't feel comfortable with it emotionally I would definitely not have asked you to explain why. It was the way that you said that it raised some kind of ethical concern that made me want to ask for your reasons.

I consider this a misunderstanding. If you really only meant you didn't like it on a gut level then I can see why you've been arguing the points you have been. It's just from my point of view the issue of ethics is a separate one so I didn't take you to be saying that.

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 10:33:43 UTC | #922721

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 29 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 28 by Layla

If you'd said you just didn't feel comfortable with it emotionally I would definitely not have asked you to explain why. It was the way that you said that it raised some kind of ethical concern that made me want to ask for your reasons.

Is there a difference ? My whole point was that ethics are not fundamentally based on rationality. There isn't some 'pure ethics' sitting out there in the ether..........someone's 'gut feeling' lies at the root of all ethics.

Comment 25 by chimpious

So your objection to organ donation is that utilization of dead bodies for any purpose, albeit very beneficial, is somehow taboo?

Well....if one is simply going to say 'that's irrational', then one has to wonder why for most people soylent green would be taboo. One could make an equally good case that that's an irrational response.

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:29:56 UTC | #922744

onlyrational's Avatar Comment 30 by onlyrational

I have no objection on emotional grounds to organ donation, but cannot disagree with a friend who maintains that organ transplants are an expensive way of keeping people alive longer when we do not have the systems in place for maintaining people comfortably and with dignity in their old age.

Should we sort out this issue before we demand to be kept alive longer?

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:59:14 UTC | #922749