Organ Donation and Homosexuals - page 3

Hey everyone. I had a pt come into the ER in full cardiac arrest. Didn't make it. 56 yr old really sad. He had a life partner who was extremely distraught and actually signed in to get medication... Read More

  1. by   BabyRN2Be
    This is just really, really sad. I really feel for his life partner. His life partner was trying to make some good out of a catastrophic situation in his life by carrying out his partners' last wishes, just to be denied by what I feel is a judgment call made by the donor rep. I see this as another slap in his face, too.

    What about college blood drives? How about the story of the sorority that told it's members to donate no matter what (so they could get the Greek glory or whatever of having the most donate from their house). The email that was sent out to her fellow sorority sister said something like, "Did you get a tattoo last week? DON'T TELL THEM. You have a cold or are sick? Suck it up. We all do." By sending out this email she potentially affected so many people.

    It's just so sad a certain group of people are disallowed to give due to "risky behavior."

    I don't know what I'm trying to say here, but it's all just a dirty rotten shame.
  2. by   caroladybelle
    My understanding is that MSMs are not permitted to donate blood or marrow. Thus (given that you can test blood/marrow more comprehensively than organs - time is not as great an issue), I can see where the ban on donating organs is consistant.

    Due to my medical history and transfusion history, I am not permitted to donate organs or blood, so you really can't chalk it up prejudice.

    It seems like something to quibble over...each person's presumed risky behavior. But take into account the lawsuits over passing on contaminated tissue, and you can see the concern.

    As far as nurses coming in contact with everything, we also have access to PPE. We also presumably(?) take greater care with our hygiene, than the public.

    There is no one completely free of risks. But as someone that got transfused with blood, known later to be contaminated, I will never be permitted to donate anything....though I have always tested negative. And I can understand the concern.

    Also think of this. Patients that have been treated for cancer (chemo/rad) are frequently not permitted to donate blood/most transplant organs. This despite that research has not seen any link with recipients having a higher risk of cancer and that the organs were not permanently affected by chemo.
    Last edit by caroladybelle on Sep 29, '06
  3. by   BabyRN2Be
    OK, let me try to narrow down my thoughts.

    It's just very sad that a person, regardless of sexual orientation, who is in a monogamous situation is not able to donate, whereas frequently they have blood drives on college campuses where students may be encouraged to lie about their behaviors in order to win a competition, and they are able to donate.

    If we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this person was in a monogamous relationship, could prove testing negative for all diseases in the last 6 months, why could s/he not be considered as a donor?

    I should say that I understand the causes of HIV and Hep. It's just sad that a group of people are labeled automatically high risk for "risky behaviors" that may not exist in an individual. So many people could be helped by one person donating.

    I guess that's what I was trying to say.
  4. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from BabyRN2Be
    What about college blood drives? How about the story of the sorority that told it's members to donate no matter what (so they could get the Greek glory or whatever of having the most donate from their house). The email that was sent out to her fellow sorority sister said something like, "Did you get a tattoo last week? DON'T TELL THEM. You have a cold or are sick? Suck it up. We all do." By sending out this email she potentially affected so many people.
    Most donation centers protect against peer pressure by having you fill out a confidential statement to 'use or don't use' your donation.

    You STILL get credit, and the supply is protected against peer pressure donations.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  5. by   Corvette Guy
    Quote from BabyRN2Be
    OK, let me try to narrow down my thoughts.

    It's just very sad that a person, regardless of sexual orientation, who is in a monogamous situation is not able to donate, whereas frequently they have blood drives on college campuses where students may be encouraged to lie about their behaviors in order to win a competition, and they are able to donate.

    If we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this person was in a monogamous relationship, could prove testing negative for all diseases in the last 6 months, why could s/he not be considered as a donor?

    I should say that I understand the causes of HIV and Hep. It's just sad that a group of people are labeled automatically high risk for "risky behaviors" that may not exist in an individual. So many people could be helped by one person donating.

    I guess that's what I was trying to say.
    Monogamous relationship? Monogamy is the custom or condition of having only one mate during a period of time. So, two people in a monogamous relationship that practice [lack of a better word] anal sex certainly provide a shadow of doubt.
  6. by   dragonflyRN
    I think that the risk factors involved should be up to reciepient. People die waiting for transplants. If you were that person....in the end stage...still waiting for your number and match to come up...wouldn't you take what you could get and deal with the consequences later?

    Why not let the pt. receiving the organ make the choice? Make it an educated choice. I have to believe that even an organ from an HIV + patient is better than no organ at all...
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    CG: We know not their (homosexuals') sexual practices, definately. Who can say for sure that hetero's don't engage in MUCH riskier behaviors??? Let's don't go there please.

    And the point about health care workers then being extremely high risk, and therefore potentially ineligible is well-taken by me.
  8. by   Tweety
    I don't think's it's prejudice that motivates them, it's fear and some practicality.

    I understand that as a gay man, I fall in a high risk category because you can't argue with facts. Gay men still make up the largest group of HIV carriers.

    However, the fact remains that there are potentially millions of HIV negative men, engaging in safe sex, or no sex, or monogamous sex with another HIV negative partner that can't donate and to me that's bitterly disappointing.

    Rapid HIV tests are becoming available. I hope that these can be used to remove the stigma of gay people being potentially tainted. Because despite the tens of thousands of gay men with HIV, there are millions more of us who aren't ashamed to say we're gay, who are honorable enough to want to donate, but can't.
    Last edit by Tweety on Sep 29, '06
  9. by   Tweety
    Quote from Corvette Guy
    Monogamous relationship? Monogamy is the custom or condition of having only one mate during a period of time. So, two people in a monogamous relationship that practice [lack of a better word] anal sex certainly provide a shadow of doubt.

    I'm not understanding you. Two HIV negative people in a monogomous relationship, regardless of sexual practices, are going to remain HIV negative beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I think the issue is REALISTIC precautions versus knee jerk ones.

    Look, I think that ANY promiscuous person should be considered high risk and that is not a statement against ethics but an accurate statement of risk.

    But, by the same token, if you have had 1 or less partners for the last 12 months, and are reasonably certain your partner could say the same, the risks of an infection that would escape testing are negligible.

    Quantity (not frequency but partners, LOL) and not quality (type) over time should be the issue and the ONLY issue when it comes to sex and donation status.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Sep 29, '06
  11. by   Corvette Guy
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    CG: We know not their (homosexuals') sexual practices, definately. Who can say for sure that hetero's don't engage in MUCH riskier behaviors??? Let's don't go there please...
    SBE: My apologies for the confusion, but my previous post was regards to both homosexual & heterosexual monogomous relationships which practice unsafe sex. I was NOT intending to be negatively bias towards homosexuals in the least bit.

  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    post rescinded.

    Good thoughts by all here.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Sep 29, '06
  13. by   rach_nc_03
    Quote from Corvette Guy
    Monogamous relationship? Monogamy is the custom or condition of having only one mate during a period of time. So, two people in a monogamous relationship that practice [lack of a better word] anal sex certainly provide a shadow of doubt.
    Don't take this as me trying to slam you, I'm really not. I've always really appreciated the respectful tone of your posts, even when I disagree with your point of view.

    Yes, you're correct about the definition of monogamy, but your post got me thinking- with the increase in young people (down to middle-school kids, sadly) choosing to have anal and/or oral sex to 'keep their virginity', I have to wonder if the exclusion of male homosexuals from organ and tissue donation should be rethought- I mean, think about the example someone gave of college campus blood drives. Even when I was in college in the early 90's, the risky behaviour practiced by *many* people I knew- gay, straight, male, female- would've made most ineligible for donation. That situation is FAR worse today than it was 15 years ago. In fact, I read a study a couple of years ago that since AIDS treatments and prevention have shifted the media's attention away from the disease in recent years, unsafe sex practices have gone up dramatically in some areas. I would love to know what percentage of heterosexual blood donors have actually engaged in behaviour that should exclude them, compared to that statistic among homosexual men (or, as the researchers now define it, men who have sex with men- MSM).

    I'm a huge, huge advocate of organ donation- I worked in a neuro ICU and saw SO many brain-dead patients whose families refused to honor the patient's wishes to be a donor, because they wanted them to 'go to heaven intact'. It was even harder to see it in the PICU because I can empathise more with parents not wanting their child to have organs harvested. There's a terrible lack of understanding in the public about the need for organ donors, and (at least where I worked) families weren't approached with the topic until brain death was imminent- for many families, it's just too much to take in at such an enormously stressful time. It's hard to feel empathy for someone whose life could be saved when your family member is dying.

    The ideal situation would be if more people were willing to be donors- and told their families about it! Everyone in my family has known I wanted to be a donor since I first heard about it as a little kid. Maybe if there were enough organs to go around, then *anyone* who was high-risk for any reason at all could be excluded.

    I do understand both sides- my brother in law has hepatitis C from a transfusion he received in the 80s. He and my sister were tested annually for HIV the entire time they were married, and both their kids were tested.

    The whole thing is just so sad.
    Last edit by rach_nc_03 on Sep 29, '06

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