Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The NY Times praises the organ donation system in Israel

In Israel, a New Approach to Organ Donation

Israel recently passed a law: if two patients have identical medical needs for an organ transplant, priority will be given to the patient who has signed a donor card, or whose family member has donated an organ in the past.

This was spearheaded by Dr. Jacob Lavee who told the following story:
In 2005, he had two ultra-Orthodox, Haredi Jewish patients on his ward who were awaiting heart transplants. The patients confided in him that they would never consider donating organs, in accordance with Haredi Jewish beliefs, but that they had absolutely no qualms about accepting organs from others.
That Haredi Jews would not donate organs was a well-known fact in Israel. But this was the first time anyone had openly admitted the paradox to Dr. Lavee.
The unfairness of a segment of society unwilling to donate organs, but happy to accept them, nagged at Dr. Lavee. After he operated on both patients, giving each a new lease on life, he put together a proposal that would give priority to those patients willing to donate their organs.

This raises a very big moral/ethical question. If you really believe that taking a heart from a brain dead patient is murder how can you accept it?  In essence the doctors are killing the donor to save you, as the Gemara says why is your blood redder then his?


Berel said...

My suggestion is as follows. I don't know about Israel but I was told by non-Jewish phlebotomists that because the Bikkur Cholim blood drives are so successful, Boro Park and Williamsburg have the highest per capita of blood and platelet donations in the US. (DO NOT expect confirmation of this in the blog or media world).Therefore how about making a system where a frequent blood or platelet donor gets preference for organ donations even without signing a donor card? It would benefit everyone as a real blood or platelet donation accomplishes more then a theoretical organ donation.

john peter said...

charitable donations
I had to refresh the page 2 times to view this page for some reason, however, the information here was worth the wait.