On July 23rd, 2009 I was diagnosed with end stage liver disease and alcoholic cirrhosis. My journey would take me through being hospitalized every twenty-one days due to complications up until the day of my liver transplant September 16th, 2011. In that time I would relocate to Jacksonville, Florida to become a patient at The Mayo Clinic. I would be actively listed for transplant for just under eleven months. As of this writing there are approximately 120,000 people on the active organ waiting list and countless others needing to be added to that list. Another person is added to the waiting list every ten minutes, with twenty-two people dying each day waiting for an organ. This is in large part due to education of the need for organ donors and a lack of financial funding to have sign up drives.
There is an easy solution that will save the lives of thousands of Americans each year, an opt out system. Currently you have to register with your state if you want to be an organ donor. This is commonly done at the DMV when you are signing up for or renewing your drivers license. In far too many instances this option is not even brought up. This opt in system we currently use is failing this country and the need for more donors becomes more and more dire. I propose congress vote in a opt out system where everyone is automatically an organ donor unless they choose to opt out of the system for whatever reasons they have.
I’m sure you have some concerns and questions to this proposal. Is there a religious exemption? All major religions accept organ donation as a final gesture of compassion and generosity. If you however have a moral or religious objection you can simply opt out of the program. There is no cost to the donor family. There is a fear out there if you’re a donor your care in an emergency will be substandard. Your life always comes first. Only when you suffer irreversible loss of brain function are you considered clinically dead and a organ donation is possible. For those concerned an open casket funeral is still possible after you donate your organs.
If you donate your organs you could save up to eight lives, you could restore sight to two people, and your tissue could heal the lives of fifty people. In different regions of the country the level of illness you must be at are disparate and disproportional. California and the north-east are in dire need of donors. More and more people are flocking to Florida and hospitals such as The Mayo Clinic due to a larger availability of organs due largely to the procurement organizations education of students and adults alike. The time is now for an opt out system and saving countless lives in the process. I ask you to write your congressman and demand an opt out system of organ donation in this country. This is the moral, right, and sane way to save thousands of American lives every year.