In 2004, Richard H. Carmona, the US Surgeon General announced that he wanted to “close the gap” because “these numbers represent real people, with real lives, with loved ones who wait expectantly, and hopefully […but remain dependent upon] the good will of others” (Petechuk 148).
But the gap isn’t closing. They have tried various programs such as workplace education and naming April the National Donate Life Month. The current opt-in system isn’t working. Congress is too scared to implement a “presumed consent” system because it will either cost too much money to create, and some have argued that it is violation of our rights as Americans (Petechuk 33).
I. The problem
A. There simply aren’t enough people who are willing to donate.
1. Based on OPTN Reports for SC:
a. As of August 31st of 2007 only 158 donors have been recovered from South Carolina.
b. There are currently 727 people in SC waiting for a transplant alone.
2. Some people just don’t put thought into it, or think somebody else will donate on their behalf.
a. SC has an estimated 4.5 million residents and according to statemaster.com has average annual death rate of 950 people.
b. This means that only 14% of people who die actually have elected to donate organs. Leaving approx 7600 transplantable organs being buried or cremated each year.
B. The current system
1. The current system in place is an opt-in system.
a. SC is one of 13 states that allow its residents to opt-in when applying for a drivers license (Parker).
b. Other states require you to fill out donor cards at hospitals or regional centers.
2. The issues with our current system are:
a. Most say no because they don’t want to think about their own deaths.
b. And 52% of Americans claim they hadn’t been asked.
Approximately 14 states have adopted some form of presumed consent, but only in the case where next of kin could not be found and there was not indication that the deceased was opposed to donation.
II. What presumed consent and opting-out.
A. Presumed consent:
1. Presumed consent means that instead of agreeing to be an organ donor, you become one at the age of eighteen.
a. When you are standing in line at the DMV the only choice you have to make is the one that will not save lives.
b. So instead of a heart with a Y, you would have a heart with an N.
a. It is our duty as Americans to not inflict harm on others, and by not donating organs, we are doing just that.
b. By choosing to opt-out it becomes something we as people will actually have to put thought into.
B. The myths and facts about opting out:
1. Myth # 1: Having to opt-out takes away my freedom.
a. An opt-out system is really no different than opting out of mass mailing. If you don’t want something bad enough, you will put a stop to it.
b. I don’t believe that having an opting-out system for organ donation would make us less American. It would make us more informed about the entire system.
2. Myth #2: Creation of an opt-out system will cost too much:
a. It is my opinion that if 13 states already utilize the drivers license as a means of communicating the wish to donate then a system already exists.
b. It will be a matter of getting the other states to start utilizing that same system to which may create nominal additional costs.
Call to Action: But I am not here to tell you about nominal costs for other states, I am here there are not enough donors in our state to cover our own people’s needs for transplants. If every person who died in our state was required to be an organ donor, there would have probably been enough organs to help our state and others in our region.
Compel your friends, family, and neighbors to actually make the choice of not wanting to give the gift instead of allowing them to assume someone else will make the decision for them.
Although this petition won’t save my fathers life or provide him with an organ, it will help your loved ones in the future. Our state currently uses the drivers’ license as proof the opt-in system.
Please choose to save a life today buy signing my electronic petition.
The Manditory Organ Donation petition to South Carolina was written by Nicole James and is in the category Health at GoPetition.