Organ Donations

May 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Andy Tookey gained via OIA the number of people who have consented to be an organ donor on their driver’s licence.

We have 3,279,627 licensed drivers in NZ. 51.9% of us have agreed to be an organ donor in case of death, or 1,730,299. Pleased to see it is over 50%. I wonder how someone who refuses to be an organ donor will feel if they ever need a transplant themselves?

The breakdown by gender is interesting. 50.9% of licensed drivers are male and 49.1% female. That suggests fewer women get a license. Also 0.003% are of indeterminate gender. Not sure if that means inter-sexual, or that they didn’t fill the form in clearly!

The rates by gender are 49.1% for men, 54.9% for women and 39.3% for indeterminate. That is a significantly higher rate for women, than men. Are men more selfish than women? Or more likely to have a cultural or religious reason not to want to be a donor?

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30 Responses to “Organ Donations”

  1. berend (1,708 comments) says:

    DPF: I wonder how someone who refuses to be an organ donor will feel if they ever need a transplant themselves?

    I wonder who someone who is an organ donor feels if they start to cut you open while still living.

    But to answer the question, as someone who is not an organ donor: I fully accept the consequences, and will not ask for a transplant.

    PS: I think that should be an option on the form, so people make a clear, conscious decision of the consequences.

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  2. Aredhel777 (290 comments) says:

    After watching a film a couple of years ago on a man who almost had his organs removed while still fully conscious and yet unable to communicate the fact that he was still conscious, I am not a donor.

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  3. Lucia Maria (2,427 comments) says:

    I would be quite happy to donate organs if I was dead, but the risk is too great that if I did identify myself as wanting to donate, then brain death might be enough to consider me dead. Brain death is not actual death, as a number of people have come back from it, right up until they almost were completely killed by having their organs harvested prematurely. Likewise, I would not want any organs myself if it required killing the donor (as heart and lung transplants definitely do).

    If more people knew that the donors had to be given paralytic drugs to stop them from thrashing about when they are cut into, and now increasingly, anesthetic (just in case they do feel pain, even though they are supposed to be dead), the number of potential organ donors would fall dramatically until all this actual death stuff is sorted out.

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  4. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    I wonder how someone who refuses to be an organ donor will feel if they ever need a transplant themselves?

    I imagine it is probably a moment of great reflection for many of them.

    But charity is not something you do with the expectation of reward, it is something you do because it is a good thing to do.

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  5. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    Is there a breakdown of these stats by race ?

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  6. Harriet (4,969 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria#

    Organ donation in Aus is vey low, less than 10% I think, and from memory what you have listed, or something like it, is a major reason why. The larger % of religous people in Aus is another reason. The lower road toll is apparently another.

    [I heard all this just recently on Nationwide talkback in Aus].

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  7. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    After watching a film a couple of years ago on a Doctor who sewed three backpackers together mouth-to-anus to create a kind of Human Centipede, I am not a backpacker…

    [DPF: Sounds like the Southpark Apple episode!]

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  8. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    That is a significantly higher rate for women, than men.

    No it is not.

    I would have expected women to have a far lower rate of organ donation. Maybe it is because women are less likely to die permaturely so they don’t care as it is unlikely to happen anyway.

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  9. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    For some cultural communities in NZ, females are discouraged from gaining a driver’s license. Generally this is tied to the degree of freedom that women enjoy to be independent in those cultures. Those same cultures are sometimes (I’m cautious here, I know of some that are but I’m not sure if most are) also opposed to organ donorship. So the two trends maybe in part related.

    I’m noted as a donor myself on my license, but ultimately I believe that organ donations will disappear when we better understand how to use stem cells to regrow one’s own tissues, either from scratch or to restore full existing functionality.

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  10. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    DPF: I wonder how someone who refuses to be an organ donor will feel if they ever need a transplant themselves?

    simple answer, im an asshole :)

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  11. Harriet (4,969 comments) says:

    “….But charity is not something you do with the expectation of reward, it is something you do because it is a good thing to do….”

    RRM. you once bagged me out for saying just that! I said that about that Sam bloke from ch-ch who was organising a concert as a reward if people were going to do future charitable work. He was also the one who arranged all the students for the quake cleanup. And he’s gay – maybe that’s why you defended his now accepted foolishness. :cool:

    Anyway, I’m pleased you’ve learnt a good christian value from me. :cool:

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  12. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    Are men more selfish than women

    Without doubt.
    Biological imperative.

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  13. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    After watching a film a couple of years ago on a man who almost had his organs removed while still fully conscious and yet unable to communicate the fact that he was still conscious, I am not a donor.

    I’ve also heard of people being operated on who are unable to communicate the fact that they can see and feel everything. Should that stop me from having any operation is case of a rare occurence?

    After watching a film a couple of years ago on a man who had organs removed while in a hotel I still go to hotels.

    After watching a film a couple of years ago on a man who was abducted by aliens whilst walking outside I still walk outside.

    The odds of my life being saved by an organ donor are probably higher than the odds of any of those examples happening. If there are any people willing to be donors.

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  14. Tookinator (221 comments) says:

    On the downside that means 1576328 People have put ‘no’ to being a donor on their licence. (48% of drivers) what percentage of those would accept an organ if they needed one? (Or a family member needed one.)

    @Lucia Maria – “Brain death is not actual death, as a number of people have come back from it.”

    Not true – Brain Death is actual death – you cannot recover, you are dead. Where these ‘myths’ come from is dodgy journalists who state someone is brain dead, but in fact they were in a coma. It’s the media who get the facts wrong and then the public take them at their word.

    Slightly off topic, but I was a participant in Bioethics discussions on xenotransplantation. (Animal organs into humans) We were hijacked by greenies saying don’t kill the piggies! And of course they went to great lengths to tell us why we shouldn’t kill pigs to use their organs. (To save lives!)

    However, I was amused come lunchtime (Cold Buffett provided by sponsors) Those same people demolished all the ham sandwiches before I managed to get one!

    Andy Tookey

    http://www.givelife.org.nz
    http://www.lifesharers.org.nz

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  15. JC (955 comments) says:

    “Are men more selfish than women?”

    Do men have a far better knowledge of the state of their organs? :)

    JC

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  16. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Also 0.003% are of indeterminate gender

    New legislation required, surely?

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  17. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    The best argument for being an organ donor is the altruistic one of giving someone else the use of something you have no further use for.

    The second best argument is that it is about the only way to stop the interfering meddling busybodies from keeping you brain dead yet living, like some sort of human vegetable.

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  18. Lucia Maria (2,427 comments) says:

    Tookinator,

    Not true – Brain Death is actual death – you cannot recover, you are dead.

    Um, not really. Brain death is a diagnosis that is separate from biological death. If you are biologically dead, then you are brain dead as well. But an apparently brain dead person is not necessarily biologically dead as well.

    Take the following case:

    Although a team of four physicians insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, Thorpe’s father enlisted the help of a general practitioner and a neurologist, who demonstrated that his son still had brain wave activity. The doctors agreed to bring him out of the coma, and five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.

    Link

    The man in the story was obviously not dead, despite four doctors deciding he was.

    The problem is the diagnosis of brain-death – the criteria vary. In some countries you can be legally declared brain dead and in others you are still alive.

    You really need to do some research in this area, it’s full of debate about whether or not the apparently brain dead are actually biologically dead. And then there’s the worry of the financial aspect of all of this. Here’s a link to get you started: One in five ‘brain dead’ patients still alive, claims lawsuit.

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  19. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    I am a donor.

    If my organs can have a second life in someone else, then they are welcome to take them.

    My concern remains that surviving relatives still have veto rights over what is my freely-decided-on, rationally-agreed decision to be an organ donor. It is my choice, and I have decided. To try and circumvent this possibility, I have a sticker laminated on the back of my license saying that I do not want my donor wishes debated; I just want them followed.

    Having read some of the responses on here, I think maybe I should revise this to say I am only prepared to see donations to people who are themselves ‘pro-choice’ donors…

    Stupid fears of the ‘organ harvest while still alive’ kind belong on the Mythbusters TV programme, not in rational debate. FFS.

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  20. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    I should add, I used to teach year 11 Mathematics at a low decile school, last period on a Friday. Three years in a row, I had the same hospital pass of a schedule. In these classes, brain death was not only present; it was ubiquitous…

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  21. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    One suspects that if the government put in place a one buyer scheme and paid for organs then more families would allow donations.

    There should also be a preference to recipients who are also donors.

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  22. iMP (2,384 comments) says:

    I think someone is stepping in and donating an organ to ChristChurh cathedral.

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  23. iMP (2,384 comments) says:

    probably Jim Anderton’s sacred heart.

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  24. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    Brain death is not actual death…

    Lucia, your post is proof of that. It also shows your heart might be dead too.

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  25. Tookinator (221 comments) says:

    @Lucia Maria You really need to do some research in this area

    I have, 11 years to be exact…

    Although a team of four physicians insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, Thorpe’s father enlisted the help of a general practitioner and a neurologist, who demonstrated that his son still had brain wave activity. The doctors agreed to bring him out of the coma, and five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.

    So if he was Brain Dead why did they agree to take him out of a coma…

    one-in-five-brain-dead-patients-still-alive-claims-lawsuit

    There are many claims in lawsuits, doesn’t mean they are correct…

    There are many myths surrounding organ donation. Many people have heard the one about the guy who went to a party and woke up next morning minus a kidney – If you think about how absurd this is (A party with a full team of transplant surgeons, nurses, and a recipient who would just happen to be a match despite no prior testing of the donor.) But hey people believe these things!

    Another thing I need to dispel… When you are brain dead and on a ventilator, they are not keeping you alive on a machine to take your organs. You are dead. They are ventilating the organs so that they do not deteriorate…

    In NZ to determine brain death there are a number of tests that must be performed, at intervals, and by two seperate doctors independent of each other.

    There may be cases in some countries where the doctor has made the wrong diagnosis of brain death. It still doesn’t alter the fact that you can not recover from brain death.

    Still, if you are misdiagnosed with brain death, but you’re not ‘quite’ dead yet and they take your organs then you will definately be dead! (Much better than waking up in a coffin after being buried?)
    Should the above happen to you I would suggest making a complaint to the Health & Disability Commisioner :-)

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  26. Tookinator (221 comments) says:

    @Lucia Maria.

    I just read the “research” that you did by linking to this article:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/one-in-five-brain-dead-patients-still-alive-claims-lawsuit/

    If this is the quality of your ‘research’ then…..

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  27. Steve (North Shore) (4,561 comments) says:

    A man’s organs are less useable because men drink. Women’s organs are fine as long as they do not drink.
    Therefore Women drive Men to drink – quite simple the way I work out percentages

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  28. Steve (North Shore) (4,561 comments) says:

    Harriet @1.26pm
    “Organ donation in Aus is vey low, less than 10% I think, and from memory what you have listed, or something like it, is a major reason why. The larger % of religous people in Aus is another reason.”

    Well I reckon because of the Australian low IQ the brain just cant educate the other organs. Wingnut ears and soft cocks are just two

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  29. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Surely this is why we need voting records as part of the determination of brain dead? You can vote left and or green all you like, but when it comes to organ donations no, you don’t pass the threshold. In fact, link to be found, monty python organ donor skit :)

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  30. Lucia Maria (2,427 comments) says:

    Tookinator,

    It’s an entry point. It shows you there’s an actual debate going on. And look at the linked articles for a start.

    Here you are agitating for increased organ donation and yet you seem to know next to nothing about brain death vs biological death. It’s not hard to do some serious research yourself – I’ve just given you somewhere to start.

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