This week's class discussion that's stuck with me has to do with organ donation. In Italy, there is a silence/consent rule. Unless you specifically sign that you DON'T want to be a donor, the presumption is you do - and at the appropriate time after 3 physicians declare you dead, your parts will be used if/as needed. (That's the Reader's Digest version of the Italian law as I understand it.)
I think I was the only in class who considered this a scarey prospect. My classmates felt this should be the American standard.
I on the other hand heard the footsteps of Big Brother. I must have been the only one listening.
My initial thoughts on this have been:
1) I don't consider my body to be a resource for the government.
2) Just as there is a problem now with available organ donation that is linked to a lack of 'informed consent' and education of the general public, doesn't the Italian law use that lack of education to procure organs without informed consent?
3) I'm not sure how this fits but it's nagging at me - if many claim that the government shouldn't tell a woman what to do with her body (abortion), how can the government enforce this?
4) I think this is just another step down the 'slippery slope' - could this lead to non-treatment of persons deemed to have little value in life (MR, Alzheimer's, etc) in order to have a source of organs? I know that's a far-fetched supposition but I think it's a reasonable concern.
I think that there should be a vastly increased education process through which hopefully many, many people would consider organ donation. Of course, I realize that this would have to go with increased education in STDs, birth control, the hazards of smoking...all those health issues and more that can result in increased human misery. And where would it happen? Who's going to fund it? etc., etc., etc.......
I have signed my driver's license and discussed my wishes with my family so should the occasion occur, they'll respond as I've directed. I believe in the absolute value of organ donation.
However, the Italian protocol scares me.
What do y'all think? Wanna discuss?