Thursday, January 20, 2011

Will I or won't I - donate my organs?

I’m a secular Jew. To me that means I’m a non believer but I still identify with Jewish history and culture, however I choose which customs I observe and which I don’t. In other words, I draw a line. Why I’ve drawn my line where I have, I can’t explain. For example I don’t keep kosher, i.e. I mix meat and dairy foods at the same meal off the same plate; but I don’t eat forbidden food including pig, shellfish and rabbit. And so to the issue of organ donation by Jews. It’s a complicated and controversial issue [1]. But, it seems, attitudes are becoming more liberal as time goes on [2, 3]. And practices, of course, follow attitudes. Until now I haven’t signed up to become an organ donor [4]. It’s something I’m thinking about, though. But so far I’ve not made up my mind one way or the other. Despite DonateLife Week (formerly Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week) this year not being until 20-27 February [5], yesterday it was announced that Tasmanians are donating their organs at the highest rate of any State: in 2010, 20 actual donors per million population compared with the national figure of 14 [6]. That surprised me. I’d thought that because on average Tasmanians aren’t as well educated as mainlanders, they wouldn’t take to an altruistic activity like organ donation. But perhaps less educated people can see organ donation’s advantages in simpler and thus clearer terms. Food for thought, eh. Ho hum.

5 comments:

Valula said...

Those stats, to me, are staggering. I'd presumed that the donation rate would be much higher. I've no idea what they are here in the sunny Irish Republic but somehow I doubt they'll differ substantially from any other first world English speaking nation.

So to donate or not to donate? For me, they can take what ever they want...so long as they make sure I'm definitely dead first!!!!

Geoffrey Brittan said...

The subject of your post parallels well the last episode of House in which Dr. Gregory House meets his lover's mother (Jewish) and tells her that he is Atheist. She replies, "Lots of Jews I know are Atheist. It's about community." Dr. House's patient donates his eyes which save the sight of a young girl.

Sure, you don't need to believe to be Jewish, but it helps. The Jews are God's Chosen People. The Old Testament is their story, your story.

Your blog made me think, as it often does about what it means to be Jewish. That one word embraces nationality, community, cultural identity, religion and Faith, in one place in the world. No part of humankind has more advanced our world; fine writers, find physicians, scientists, artists and intellectuals, who endured terrible oppression because they believed in their place on Earth.

Don't worry about the donor card and don't worry about whether or not God exists. Each of us makes that discovery in our own time.

Geoffrey Brittan said...

I noticed an error in my previous comment; Dr. House's patient survived. I was flipping between channels between the Dr.House program and the highlights from a police funeral. The deceased officer gave his eyes to a young girl. I am sorry for the confusion. At my age, it is fortunate that I can still identify my errors and correct them.

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

I am with Valula on this one, take what you like as long as I am dead!
Altho could this disease get passed on thru a transplant? Not good.
I am also available as cadaver for students, and then it is dispose of me quickly and very cheaply. NO EULOGY, just a wake.
The nice thing about being an atheist is I can make up my own rules, altho I do have shell fish allergy.
As far as community, I care about those around me, but I have never met a group where I feel I belong.

WriterBee said...

I'm also with Valula on this one.

My problem is that I worry that a medical team will not do everything they possibly could to save me because they'd be too busy eyeing off which parts of me they could put to better use elsewhere.

They might be a bit quick to turn machines off because my dying sooner would leave my organs in better shape for someone else.