Today’s post is at The Stream: When Doctors Kill Patients to Harvest Their Organs.
“How’s your headache, Mr Jones?”
“Gettin’ worse, doc. Had it off and on all week.”
“That’s what we expected. Good thing you came in last week for the organ scan I recommended. Let’s look at the chart. Well, we know your heart is strong. Best ticker I’ve seen in ages. Heart like that, man your age, would go for a least half a million. I’m surprised, too, because you indicated that you’re a moderate drinker. Your LFT corroborates this—”
“Liver function test. Looks at blood levels of ALP, albumin, things like that. Shows how well the liver is working. You’re nowhere near the worst end of the scale, but you’re not the best, either. Couldn’t get more than, oh, five grand; ten tops.”
“How ’bout my stomach? I can eat anything.”
“Yes, it’s a good one. Unfortunately, we don’t really do stomach transplants. Not yet, anyway. Most people don’t know it, but you can actually live quite a productive life without a stomach. I’m not saying there’s not some value for lab work. Don’t forget, Mr Jones, we’ll use every part we can. The contract…”
If you get sick, dear reader, whatever you do, don’t go to the doctor. At least not in Belgium or the Netherlands, where conversations like the above might not become unusual. At least, not if some thinkers get their way.
Jan Bollen, Rankie ten Hoopen, and three others have written an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics called “Legal and ethical aspects of organ donation after euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands“, in which the prospects of harvesting organs from the bodies of those killed by “doctors” are discussed in warm terms.
“Doctors” killing patients is of course the definition of euthanasia. (Suicide does not require a medical professional.) The scare quotes are necessary to remind us the traditional role of the physician was healing. Increasingly that old meaning is being replaced by a utilitarian concept where not life but maximum health is the goal of medicine. Thus, once maximum health becomes imperiled, some “doctors” suggest euthanasia as a “cure”…
Now the authors are aware of the obvious ethical tension. If patients know doctors are lusting after their livers, this could “cause a breach of trust with the treating physician, and one might get the impression that the physician is only willing to perform euthanasia because the patient will donate organs.”…
Just like spraying fruit with insecticide, prepping the still-live body is important if one is to have the freshest organs. Luckily, injectible chemicals for this exist. And they’re allowed, but only if they “not ‘harm’ the patient”, which is an odd sentiment when the patient is about to have his throat cut. (No, I’m kidding. They kill him in other ways.)…
Like the dialog above stresses, a “patient might be motivated to request euthanasia because this gives him the opportunity to donate organs.” This is not troubling “As long as all due diligence requirements are fulfilled”. The authors do note publicity is problematic. There will probably be no in-hospital screenings of Soylent Green.
What is fascinating is that Bollen et al. never mention…
Go there to read the rest…before you make out that living will.