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Organ Donation Should be an Opt-Out System

Updated on March 20, 2012

Do You Think Organ Donation Should be an Opt-Out System?

Do You Think Organ Donation Should be an Opt-Out System? I do.

Currently America uses an "opt-in" system for organ donation, whereas a person must have declared earlier that they wished for their organs to be donated. I believe that an "opt-out" system would better serve America's needs. This system would automatically assume they wanted to donate their organs, unless they earlier declared that they did not. The opt-out system is based on presumed consent unless specified otherwise.

What YOU can do

Currently there are 98,634 on a waiting list for an organ in the US. Clearly something needs to be done. I suggest an opt-out system, but since that is not in place now, visit this website to find out more information on organ donation and how YOU can give the gift of life...

The Organ Donation Debate - What kind of organ donation system would be best?

Please keep this about the issue and not about the ladies on the View. Unrelated comments (on both sides) will be removed to make room for people will an opinion about the issue at hand: organ donation.

Organ Donation Should be an Opt-Out System

Yes, you're right!

Yes, you're right!

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    • anonymous 3 years ago

      I think the lack of donors is mainly due to lack of knowledge and laziness. People make assumptions about religion without researching, and still believe the crazy stories of going to sleep for surgery and waking up without a kidney, or doctors not trying as hard to save you. Also, I don't think they realize how easy it is to register. If America were opt-out, it takes away all the questions but lets everyone know they still have a choice.

    • Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      When it comes to life and death I understand religion has it's place, but not when it comes to organ donation. I put those who still have a chance and want to live above those who have already perished. Any person's feelings of privacy and personal rights to me should without question be irrelevant once someone is passed away because they are not living. Anyone who is not an organ donor in all honesty is selfish is how I see it.

    • Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      It's good that you are calling attention to the concept of an Opt-Out system

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Im a chilean and today I gotta prepare a debate where we give place to explain the different organ donation systems around the world. With my group, we definetively agree that Oot-Out system is the best way.

    • kab 5 years ago from Upstate, NY

      mizrae, where did you get that information?

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Have you considered the legislation Israel put in place last year? It uses medical necessity first then donor status to choose the recipient. Organ donation in that county has increased significantly since that law was passed.

    • crstnblue 5 years ago

      This depends on each person's decision and should be let free.

      Personally, though, I think that when one passes the way, it's a good act to donate hers/ his organs to help others in need.

      For the one that died is no use for them anymore (and hope I'll not be misunderstood here), while for the one in need... can save life or bring few more months or years to live near family, friends...

    • cducky 5 years ago

      I think its an issue that people don't think about enough, so they don't do it! they think its not important because they are not someone waiting for either a new organ or to die! I think it's a great Idea to make it an opt-out program! Think of all the lives that would be saved because of one lost life, I think its selfish and a waste to not donate your organs when you die.

    • Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Never thought about it since I opted in, but I think your way makes more sense if the objective is to help as many people as possible:)

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi, I'm from romania and I want to sell a kidney or im plamn in exchange for money, I desperately need money for my family to be evacuated from casa.Am 20 years and are healthy, not heaven without giving something in return, I just want to help my family, and for that I can sell anything to anyone supravietuii.Poate there willing to pay for the needs of one of these ograne to live.Felice

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Although I personally like the idea of an opt-out system, I can see where some people may take issue with it on political, religious, or other personal grounds. It seems to me though that a good compromise would be a mandated choice. Simply put, everyone would have to answer "yes" or "no" to the donor question as a part of his or her driver's license application or renewal. This method would retain the benefit of the individual retaining the sole right to make such a decision and yet significantly increase the number of registered donors.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Opt-in all the way!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I think opt-out is more better than opt in because the most important problem is that our world have low number of donor. To increase it it is better to use opt-out rather than opt in

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      It's so funny to read some of the responses under the"No way! it should stayopt-in" section... The opt-out system of organ donation wouldn't force you to become an organ donor. You would still have the option to "opt-out" Having this system simply increases the number of organ donors by eliminating the problem with "the people that forget to opt-in" Sooooo many people want to become organ donors but simply never find the 5 minutes to do so. OPT OUT ALL THE WAY!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Opt-in systems offer you no more protection then opt-out systems! Those who feel so strongly about not becoming organ donors can just register as such with their local DMV, since they are the minority, this a more efficient then having everyone opt-in anyway! Opt-out doesn't mean they will just take your organs without checking whether you specified, a common but irrational fear.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      To me it's unfathomable that anyone wouldn't let their organs be donated, because it won't affect you in any way... you'll be dead! It seems like one final act that we can do to improve the world and anyone who doesn't is heartless and/or following some misguided religion. Btw here's a good talk on that mentions this effect talk is about decisions and I encourage you to watch the whole thing and learn something today but otherwise skip to 4:57 if you just want to see said part.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      opt out. you don't need the organs when you're dead so why should you hold onto them in the after life? there's only 3 religions that oppose it and the government doesn't legit own your body when you don't check the box to opt out. if you really are that adament about not wanting then optOUT. i mean DUH!! when i die, i want to still be able to help people from beyond the grave. take my body and use it so others may lead fuller lives. all im sayin.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      it should be an opt-out system

    • Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think opt-out - many people don't offer their organs out of sheer apathy and inertia!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      yes it should . i want out of it.

    No way! It should stay opt-in.

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      • Sarah Switalski 4 years ago from Iowa

        My Dad is a donor recipient and I really want to vote yes for the Opt-Out idea so that more people can be saved. But... I don't think it's right to take away someone's choice even after they are dead. I also wonder if the paranoia caused by implementing an opt-out System would cause current donors to panic and opt out. Unfortunately, people are very uneducated about organ donation and there are a lot of strange rumors out there that need to be squashed. Education is the first step to making change - not legislation!

      • mizrae 5 years ago

        Under the new health care bill, we will have an opt-out system. Be very careful what you wish for.

      • Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        I am a donor and often wonder why anyone would NOT be one, after all once we are gone why not donate organs to help someone still living? However that issue would intervene with personal rights and I don't think laws should be passed that dictate those personal choices, not the job of government to control something so very personal.

      • Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        No, I don't believe it should be an opt-out system and this is why: it would take away freedom of choice about something that is very personal and should be a choice the individual makes. I understand your heartbreak over your Mom's condition, but to take away people's freedom of choice about their body is not a solution. I believe stepping up organ donor publicity would be a help in this respect, to make more people aware how simply they can indicate that they want their organs donated. Most states now ask the question and put it on your driver's license. If not, it's very simple to have your wishes notarized, notify your family members and put the document in a safe place to be opened at your death. There are also religions that believe the entire body must be present at burial or cremation. There are too many ramifications to the opt-out policy.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        no people should not donate their organs because it would be better to get buried with a full body!!!

      • Cinnamonbite 5 years ago

        I'm against organ donation unless a perfectly healthy person has an accident and can return to a normal life after an organ is donated. I firmly believe in survival of the fittest, not survival of the richest or survival for those who can never have a normal lifespan even with new organs.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Interesting thought, I never really looked at it this way. I am a donor but I am not sure about making it an opt out system.

      • AnnaleeBlysse 6 years ago

        I believe this is a matter that should be purely volunteer.

      • AnnaleeBlysse 6 years ago

        I don't think organ donation should be a requirement, but I think it would be nice if more people researched and discussed the realities with organ donation before it is too late.

      • peetred lm 6 years ago

        No. It would be disrespectful for family members of those that died and didn't make their wishes clear. Even though it would solve a lot of problems it would create a lot as well.

      • Everyday-Miracles 6 years ago

        I do not wish to donate my organs. For some time I was convinced that we did (and do) have an opt-out system. My husband has grown frustrated with the number of times I've repeated "do not donate." Not that I plan on dying any time soon, but this is an issue.

        I understand that people like me are in the minority and those who do wish to donate don't always think to register. I think the current system is a bit confusing, but I feel safe with an opt-in.

      • huvalbd 6 years ago

        If it becomes an opt-out system, under the time pressure of the system, organs will be taken for transplant from people who should not donate organs. Many people are ineligible for organ donation but "don't look sick"--and can't tell anybody about that after they are dead.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        I have been a voluntary opt in organ donor for years. I always assumed that organs were going to be distributed fairly without discrimination. Now, that rationing has started and the donation is not necessarily going to the person that needs it most because of age discrimination, I am opting out. Say what you will about saving lives but fairness does not discriminate because of age.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        What is the point in donating an organ to someone who would respect it or not; when the same people pushing policies for the corporate world allow all the toxins in our food. All for the sake of profit! You can bet that the corporate world would eventually abuse the opt. out policy all for the sake of profit. I would be willing to bet that if they would stop adulterating our food and leave it the way Mother Nature intended to be, and stop polluting our environment and medicating our water there would be less need for Organ transplants. Itâs my body it is no oneâs right to assume it is their right to say whether they can enroll me in to a program that would harvest it. The gift of giving is just that giving not taking. People are getting sicker and sicker Its time to clean up our room.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        But what about other people's religon? what if they can't do it because their religon does not allow it?

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        No! I think it should be if you want to be an organ donor, then you SHOULD make the step to become one. Stop taking my choices away and making me say NO! The reason I choose NOT to be a donor is because I don't my organs going to someone who abuses them. Note the woman who had a liver or lung transplant then continued taking Heroin. I didn't look after my organs just for that!

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        that the opt-out system would be taking away the peoples choice of whether or not they donate their organs. some people would not like to be cut open and their remains taken out.

      • resabi 6 years ago

        Coming back to add that I think it might make sense to offer insurance incentives for signing up to be a donor. Just like being a good driver gets you better rates, why not better rates for someone who does something to reduce the health system burdens?

      • resabi 6 years ago

        I surprise myself by choosing Opt-In -- despite myself being the recipient of a donor kidney. I like the principle of Opt-out in that I think there are many people who would donate but -- for whatever reason -- don't get around to signing up. But I believe the freedom of CHOICE is a fundamental right that too often is targeted by people who want to choose for us. I believe that the danger of abuse is strong with opt-out programs. That said, I think the choice should be offered more aggressively and in more places than on a driver's license. I think it should be part of what's taught in school and that people should be given a chance to sign up when they fill out job paperwork, register to vote, join the pool and -- yes, buy a car. I will never forget what the availability of a kidney has meant to me and my family.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        I am an organ donor by choice (Opt-In). There is a dangerous precedent that is set when the state assumes that no comment on behalf of the potential donor assumes consent. If you look at most opt-out programs like those used by credit card programs and promotional programs they realize that most people will not take the time to opt-out or are unable or unwilling to address that issue. An opt-out program might allow the state and third parties (hospitals, private, not for profit and for profit companies) to determine when and how much tissue is donated without the express consent of the deseased or their family. This is a free society, the last thing we really own is our bodies. The government runs by the consent of the governed and just because an individual does not opt-out it should not be considered that an individual consents to or has giving an affirmation for organ donation. How arrogant we have become to assume that our lives are so important that we are entitled to purchase organs from living donors in third world countries or to force organ donation on unsuspecting families that failed to opt-out. Organ donation is a gift (especially since the donors or families do not profit financially from the gift) and the state should not sanction the removing of organs without the expressed written consent of the donor or the donors family. Anything less is grave robbing regardless of how many lives that it may save.

      The View - Elizabeth Hasselbeck
      The View - Elizabeth Hasselbeck

      The View Debates Opt-Out vs. Opt-In Organ Donation

      Once again...Joy vs. Elizabeth

      The ladies on The View have an opinion on everything, and they have touched upon Opt-Out organ donation. Joy Behar brings up the idea as something she thinks would be a good idea because some people are superstitious about actually signing that line on their license. Elizabeth Hasselbeck disagrees saying that this is an absurd idea and connects the concept with the government taking from you. Watch the video here:

      The View Hot Topics - Organ Donation

      Organ Donation Ribbon Magnet

      Organ Donation Awareness 2 in 1 Ribbon Magnet
      Organ Donation Awareness 2 in 1 Ribbon Magnet

      Show your support for Organ Donation and raise awareness for organ donation with this magnet for your car.

      This is a high quality UV protected printed vinyl ribbons backed with thick .30 mil magnetic material.


      Would You Donate?

      The whole idea behind the opt-out organ donation program is that more people would agree to organ donation than have actually made that known. Answer these two questions, so we can get an idea as to whether this truly is the case.

      Would you donate your organs?

      See results

      Have you opted-in?

      Have you formally declared that you wish to donate your organs? (In your will, or by signing that spot on the back of your license)

      Have you opted-in to the organ donation program?

      See results

      Raising the Dead - Organ Transplants, Ethics, and Society

      Raising the Dead: Organ Transplants, Ethics, and Society
      Raising the Dead: Organ Transplants, Ethics, and Society

      Perhaps no medical breakthrough in the twentieth century is more spectacular, more hope-giving, or more fraught with ethical questions than organ transplantation. Each year some 25,000 Americans are pulled back from the brink of death by receiving vital new organs. Another 5,000 die while waiting for them. And what distinguishes these two groups has become the source of one of our thorniest ethical questions.


      The Gift that Heals - Stories of hope, renewal and transformation through organ and tissue donation

      The Gift that Heals: Stories of hope, renewal and transformation through organ and tissue donation
      The Gift that Heals: Stories of hope, renewal and transformation through organ and tissue donation

      The stories in this book are about life coming out of death. A police officer, left for dead in a hail of bullets, can golf and fish again; a woman, whose lungs were at one time so diseased that she was dependent on oxygen, has since climbed 5,000 feet to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park carrying a 25-pound backpack; a man who was fighting for his life went on to become an Olympic champion. On one side, they tell of transplanted human organs and tissue transforming lives and, on the other, the inspiring selflessness of the families who donated them at the bleakest moment of their lives.


      Organ Donation Debate Feedback

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        • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

          OUTFOXprevention1 4 years ago

          Interesting debate! Opt in and out reasonable.

        • Sarah Switalski profile image

          Sarah Switalski 4 years ago from Iowa

          Thank you for this well thought out debate. My Dad was lucky to receive a kidney last fall and he is a new man! I'm in the process of writing a lens about his experience. I hope that the more organ donation is talked about, the more people will do there research and sign up to donate.

        • smithlights profile image

          smithlights 4 years ago

          My sisters and I talk about it on occasion. Half-jokingly, it usually ends up being something like, "When I die, cut me open and give anything that works to anyone that can use it (including science, if they want it.) After that, burn me up and do what you wish! I'm getting a new body!"

        • April Wier profile image

          April Wier 5 years ago

          I don't mind what they do with my body once I'm dead, but I think live organ donation (in cases of suspected "brain death" brings in a conflict of interest with those whose sole purpose should be saving your life. The current issue of Discovery magazine has an amazing article about this issue.

        • retta719 profile image

          Loretta 5 years ago from United States

          This is a great conversation. I think we need to start with just more education and information being given about organ donation. Not enough people really understand the concept and that alone makes me sad.

        • ChrissLJ profile image

          ChrissLJ 5 years ago

          I believe it's our responsibility to help those in need. When I've passed on, I do not need my organs and each organ donor can save up to 8 lives. To not donate organs is selfish. HOWEVER, I read statistics a few days ago that in countries that used OPT-OUT systems, the percentage of organ donors only rose by a few percentage points. Also remember that even if it is on your driver's license that you are an organ donor, your family has the right to reverse that decision in many states. Let your family know your wishes!

        • CrossCreations profile image

          Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

          This is a very thought-provoking and well-written lens. I'd never really thought about this controversial issue at length. Prayers sent for your mother.

        • Nancy Hardin profile image

          Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

          Thanks for sharing your opinion on this touchy subject. I cannot donate even if I wanted to...I have no organs that are good enough to transplant. This is a great, thought provoking lens and I thank you for bringing some light to the subject.

        • Othercatt profile image

          Othercatt 5 years ago

          I've always had that box on my license checked to be an organ donor, but last month I also registered to be a bone marrow donor and a living organ donor. Now I don't have to die before saving a life :-)

        • cducky profile image

          cducky 5 years ago

          I'm finding that I agree with you on a lot of topics! yet another wonderful lens you have here!

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Very thought provoking, I love this lens. Angel Blessed.

        • Heather426 profile image

          Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

          Well done on a touchy topic! The poll would not load to let me say I already opted in.

        • sousababy profile image

          sousababy 6 years ago

          As someone who worked as a prosthetic technician (making artificial body parts) and worked in ophthalmology for a decade (alongside eye surgeons who did corneal grafts) I had a very hard time choosing in your duel - and I couldn't pick. One false belief I hear often is, 'Oh, but you can make artificial eyes soon, right?' Here's the truth: prosthesis are not like depicted in 'The Six Million Dollar Man' or 'The Bionic Woman' or 'The Terminator' - we cannot mimic or make better anything that we have been born with. At ophthalmology seminars, promotion about eye bank donations were always spoken of (few people 'like' the idea of an ophthalmologist removing the eyeballs of a loved one soon after death - which is necessary to keep the organ viable for a patient to receive). All of this is just sooo traumatic for families. I honestly feel your point is well made, however, I feel the answer is more education about freely chosen donation. To have this automatically decided will upset people even more (even though I agree with the spirit of your work here). Very interesting and challenging topic, good for you to put it out there.

        • sukkran trichy profile image

          sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

          very important topic & debate. ~blessed~

        • akumar46 lm profile image

          akumar46 lm 6 years ago

          Organ donation must be done to help needy person.

        • Gloriousconfusion profile image

          Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

          Great lens on an important subject, so here are some April Angel Blessings and I am featuring it on my lens "Go0d Lenses Deserve Angel Blessings"

        • profile image

          huvalbd 6 years ago

          I was on the donor list until I became ineligible. Your lens assumes everyone is eligible to donate. Do you want a transplant from someone who carries HIV? HTLV? If we go to an opt-out system, that is what some people will get.

        • LisaDH profile image

          LisaDH 6 years ago

          Hmm, I've never thought about the concept of opt-out organ donation. In general, I like the idea because it removes the burden of decision making from family members who are grieving, and it would save a lot of lives. On the other hand, it does seem a little heavy handed to say you MUST give up your body parts upon death. Personally, I'm not planning on using mine after I die :-)

          I've got an organ donor sticker on my driver's license, but I think it will still be grieving family members who will have to give permission when I die.

        • sheriangell profile image

          sheriangell 6 years ago

          Excellent debate - Blessed by a Culture & Society Angel today.

        • VarietyWriter2 profile image

          VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

          Great topic.

        • profile image

          scar4 6 years ago

          I would never choose to donate organs, maybe I'm selfish or weak to let that happen.

        • profile image

          2010NewLife4Rich 6 years ago

          Medical Technology has improved dramatically in the last few decades and the current system of laws needs to be updated. When cars where first made seatbelts came as an option. Thousands die each year waiting for heart,liver,lung, etc. Many of them are children. Most organs go to the grave. I was unaware of this until I started researching the subject. Without a liver transplant I will die. Did not ever think I would write these words, but that is the reality I now live with.

        • profile image

          2010NewLife4Rich 6 years ago

          Medical Technology has advanced greatly during the last several decades and the current laws governing organ donation need to be updated. People keep talking about freedoms and rights. Everyone will still free to say no. Your organs are of no use to you once you are dead and just wind up in a plastic bag if you are embalmed or burned if you are cremated. I have enjoyed the last 50 years of life and now I spend my life taking medicine and waiting for the next doctors appointment. This has given me time to ask questions and research this subject. Bottom line is that too many people die waiting for a heart, lung,liver, etc...Check out the young faces on the 2011 Transplant calender. Maybe we should take out seatbelts and airbags and make then an option to be ordered like they used to be before Big Brother made them law. Let's take down this hurdle and let the doctors and nurses do what they do best, save lives.

        • profile image

          resabi 6 years ago

          This is a very thought-provoking lens. As a grateful recipient of a donor kidney I know exactly how important donors are (and I am, myself, a donor). But I believe choice is a fundamental right and while I believe everyone who can should be a donor, I know that some religions don't accept it and there may be other reasons. But I hope everyone who is able to WILL sign up to be an organ donor. The gift of life is of incalculable value and is a legacy profoundly to be desired, in my opinion. Blessed.

        • profile image

          GrowWear 6 years ago

          Got my cute little heart on my license. :) Hope it's not needed for a long time to come, but set now for the possibility of helping others.

        • Lewister profile image

          Susan 7 years ago from Texas

          I was so excited when I got my new license (cause I'm a bad-ass motorcycle babe now) that Texas is allowing you to choose to be an organ donor then. I have a cute little heart in the bottom corner of my license so they can tell right away that I'm theirs to do with as needed. (Although, I intend to be a good rider and keep my organs as long as I can!)

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          I think that a good way of going about it would be that anyone on the organ donor list should be given precedence over anyone not on the list. If you're happy to deny someone else life then why are you entitled to it? Might also jerk the apathetics out of their stupor.

        • mbgphoto profile image

          Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

          Great debate...I think many people do not realize the importance of organ donation till someone close to them has been on a transplant list. Education is badly needed whether it be opt in or opt out!

          Thank 6 month old granddaughter just received a badly needed liver transplant! The waiting is so hard....Thank you for this lens!

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Absolutely for this, way to go. The organs don't do a thing for you if you are dead. I know that Elizabeth Hasselbeck is a Republican is she a Christian? Because helping others to get of a Kidney Machine and prolong their lives is the Christian thing to do. It is the humane thing to do. You know those against are always change their minds once they need something. Nancy Reagan now says the stem cell research would be a good thing in light of what President Reagan went through before he died. Thanks for the lens.

        • Commandrix profile image

          Heidi 7 years ago from Benson, IL

          Good lens...I have no problem with switching over to an opt-out program as long as people know they can opt out if they want to. Certainly no one I know has any objections to doing something that saves lives, religious or otherwise.

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Great lens! Great cause!! 5* and fav.

        • JenOfChicago LM profile image

          JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

          Great lens!

        • giacombs-ramirez profile image

          gia combs-ramirez 8 years ago from Montana

          Great debate! Great lens.

        • Natalie W Schorr profile image

          Natalie W Schorr 8 years ago

          Nicely presented; I lensrolled it to my Adult to Adult Living Donor Liver Transplant lens, Thanks.

        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 8 years ago from Northern California

          I've included your lens on the new one that I finished on Natasha Richardson becoming an organ donor.

        • Mortira profile image

          Mortira 8 years ago

          Great debate! Of course the concept of free healthcare also goes hand in hand with this. What good would broad organ donation be if no one could afford the surgeries to use them?

        • rwoman profile image

          rwoman 9 years ago

          Great lens and obviously very controversial! I hope you'll have time off from all your hard work for some trivia fun here!

        • profile image

          angieskidney 9 years ago

          There is a huge issue as people who say they would sign their donor card don't and then their family is left having to make the decision at a time when they are in too much pain to do so so they don't.

        • profile image

          Grasshoppa 9 years ago

          Seems like kind of a nonissue to me. I'm not seeing much here to persuade me that there's a need to change the system up that way.

        • profile image

          anonymous 9 years ago

          Quite frankly I think the best solution to this whole thing would be to pay people to donate their organs.

        • KimGiancaterino profile image

          KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

          Anyone who has read Robin Cook's Coma might be skittish about opting in for organ donation. The book (and the movie, which isn't bad) provide a glimpse into the potential dark side of the issue.

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