“This is going to be an historic day in transplant."
May 1, 2012 8:32 AM   Subscribe

“We have attempted to have a sensitive conversation, one that addresses your mortality, at the D.M.V.,” Dr. [Andrew] Cameron said. “Now we move the conversation into your own home or office with 120 of your closest friends on Facebook.” [NYT]
posted by obscurator (35 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
1 people donated this. Be the first of your friends.
posted by Fizz at 8:41 AM on May 1, 2012


Personally, I'm announcing my willingness to donate organs on eBay.
posted by HuronBob at 8:43 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had non-A, non-B hepatitis many years ago. I've been told that NOBODY wants my organs. I am officially toxic waste. Which is a shame, since--knock wood--everything's working perfectly.

I would if I could, though.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2012


So now that we're nearing the IPO, I guess we're getting a glimpse at what Zuck's business plan really is...

WELL I'M NOT WAKING UP IN A BATHTUB FULL OF ICE MINUS A KIDNEY FOR YOU, ZUCK!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have a heart: Give a heart.
posted by hal9k at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone want to help me code an app that lets you write a will via facebook? Because this company doesn't already know enough about people.
posted by gauche at 8:47 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who can take one of your kidneys?
- Friends
- Friends of Friends
- Everyone
posted by burnmp3s at 8:47 AM on May 1, 2012 [29 favorites]


I once spent several hours at the Rhode Island DMV when it was housed in a closed department store filled with empty shelves and old posters about shoplifting*. It seemed like a pretty natural place to contemplate my own mortality.

*The poster featured a whale in a deerstalker cap with a magnifying glass and pipe who was called the "Loss Prevention Whale." It was pretty great.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:47 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


“She said: ‘I think we can fix that,’ ” Dr. Cameron recalled. “It was a chills-up-the-spine moment.”

I can only imagine, wow.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:48 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my old job, I used to process IDs. One guy specified that he was an organ donor, and in the "conditions" box he put BLACK MALES ONLY.

Organ Donor?: FACEBOOK FRIENDS ONLY.
posted by griphus at 8:48 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I knew that guy looked familiar. Andrew (and briefly John) Cameron are also in a documentary series about Hopkins that was made a few years ago. Which by total coincidence I was watching last night.
posted by atrazine at 8:53 AM on May 1, 2012


I may be a minority, but I think this is at least a not-all-bad idea. I'm personally positive about organ donation for myself (and talk about it at just about every opportunity). I'd hate for anyone in my network to suffer because they couldn't find a match.
posted by House of Leaves of Grass at 8:56 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This sounds like an amazing idea. Peer effects to encourage organ donations. If there is one thing I've heard that Facebook is doing that creates lasting social value, this might top the list.
posted by scunning at 9:02 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Frankly, unless the family is planning on using the decedent's organs in some way (with some fava beans, maybe), "donation" of useful tissue ought to be mandatory. Yes, I understand that this would never fly.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:02 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two dead relatives due to a lack of organ donors. Another one waiting for a donation. I will support any initiative that makes it easier for people to express their willingness to donate. This particular idea is definitely great material for jokes, sure. It's hard for me to laugh when next week I will be seeing someone who doesn't expect to live out the year, but could be saved by an organ donor.

I believe that in the best-case scenario, everyone would be assumed to be a donor unless they (not their spouse/family/whoever) explicitly stated otherwise, or there were legitimate medical reasons their organs were unsuitable.

As an aside, this thread has finally taught me, in a very visceral (heh) manner, what a trigger is and why warnings are appreciated. I have been transported back through time and got the opportunity to relive the experience of being told that none of us are a match and we can only hope a donor becomes available. Crushing disappointment, unreasonable hope, and a sense of personal failing, all at once. I'll have a thoughtful day today, I think.
posted by Sternmeyer at 9:06 AM on May 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've proudly had "Organ Donor" on my license for decades not and can't really understand why everyone doesn't. I have a fairly rare blood type (A-) which only 6% of the population has and I'd hate to think that someone would die waiting for a heart or liver with my blood type because I didn't authorize donation.
posted by octothorpe at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm proud to be a registered organ donor; why not say so on Facebook if they think it'll help? Let's see, I just click this link here...

To share you are an organ donor, you need to upgrade to Timeline.

NO F-ING WAY!!!

posted by Faint of Butt at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've proudly had "Organ Donor" on my license for decades not and can't really understand why everyone doesn't.

Personally, I don't because my family insists on cremation as mandatory for religious purposes, and considers organ donation to be incompatible with that. Personally I don't care, and I'm willing to bet there are ways in which organ donation and Hindu cremation wouldn't conflict with each other. But that would involve some heated arguments, and a death in the family is such a trying emotional time as it is that I'll just go with the grain of tradition here.
posted by naju at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are using a free service, you are the product. With some fava beans.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:20 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


As above, organ donation should be a presumption for all citizens who don't explicitly opt out.

And it should be flat out mandatory for anyone who owns/rides a motorcycle (with the upside that you're allowed to ride without helmets so long as you have health insurance).

My guess is that most people don't have a strong objection to be an organ donor so much as they can't be bothered to make the affirmative effort about something they very rarely ever think about (and don't want to think about) at a place they already avoid like the plague.

In the meantime, the DMV and police/highway patrol could do a lot more to encourage people to opt in, e.g. plenty of signage and ubiquitous forms at the DMV and reduced fines for organ donors (or people willing to become donors, cf. a fix-it ticket).
posted by Davenhill at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


uncleozzy: "Frankly, unless the family is planning on using the decedent's organs in some way (with some fava beans, maybe), "donation" of useful tissue ought to be mandatory. Yes, I understand that this would never fly."

I certainly feel a hell of a lot better about the heart on my own license knowing that everyone in the industry is scared shitless of even the remotest hint of scandal, from the doctor who would determine that I'm already dead, to the surgeon who would cut the organs out of me, to the administrator who would figure out who gets them, to the surgeon who would put them into whomever gets them.

We are talking about folks who have the real life power to fuck up the thought experiment of the healthy guy who, filled with good organs, takes a nap near an OR filled with patients who need them as well as other folks who could easily start selling organs.

Davenhill: " And it should be flat out mandatory for anyone who owns/rides a motorcycle (with the upside that you're allowed to ride without helmets so long as you have health insurance). "

My impression is that a lot of DMV folks already make a special hard sell to motorcyclists
posted by Blasdelb at 9:25 AM on May 1, 2012


That they're doing the same in the UK suggests it is really strongly supported (if not clearly led) by Facebook. This puts them up a lot in my estimation.
posted by edd at 9:28 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just out of curiosity, could someone who knows post some links to this question. What research has there been so far done on whether kidney donation increases with peer effects? That is, has anyone studied "my friend became an organ donor so therefore I am going to as well". There's an inherent reflection problem in studying peer effects if people of like-minded charitable giving are more likely to become organ donors.
posted by scunning at 9:48 AM on May 1, 2012


One step closer to this?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:02 AM on May 1, 2012


I only want to donate my organs if I can be reasonably assured that they will go to an undeserving celebrity addict or money-grubbing CEO and no one else.

(j/k; organ donor sticker on DL since 1986)
posted by briank at 10:07 AM on May 1, 2012


after i donated my organ on facebook the police came to my house.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:19 AM on May 1, 2012


Facebook could do the fundraiser, too.
In the USA, heart transplants cost about $145,000.00 but this does not include the separate doctor / specialist / surgeon's fees, anesthesia, tests, and costs for complications. It also does not include the ongoing costs of anti-rejection medications.

Medicare and Medicaid might cover some costs, but not all.
A lot of non-inclusions there but the organ's thrown in for free.
posted by de at 10:20 AM on May 1, 2012


Isn't it true, though, that an organ donor card can be overridden by a family member? That ultimately, it is next of kin's decision?
posted by oneironaut at 10:22 AM on May 1, 2012


For the Canadian contingent in Ontario, I recently learned that signing the donor card doesn't mean you're a registered donor. "You need to register even if you signed a donor card. A signed donor card is not recorded in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s database and may not be available when needed. Organ and tissue donor registration is the only secure and guaranteed way to make your decision to save lives known." (You can also download a form, fill it out and mail it in - or you can register at a Service Ontario Centre.)

And I only know this because my friend posted this on Facebook:


"Please go to https://beadonor.ca/ !
The old donation cards don't work the same, so you need to go online to register as an organ donor to make it 100% official.

Here's hoping you live forever, but if you're taken away too soon you can still help save someone's life."


My friend being the fantastic person who is married to this particularly amazing recipient of a double-lung transplant, who is a pretty fantastic person herself.

Personally, I just love the though that someday my lungs will help someone sing waaaaaay better than I ever could now.
posted by peagood at 10:46 AM on May 1, 2012


Thanks peagood. I thought all I needed was my signed card, but it turns out I wasn't registered; I am now.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:01 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fantastic idea. There's not very many good reasons against donation.
posted by agregoli at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2012


I had non-A, non-B hepatitis many years ago. I've been told that NOBODY wants my organs. I am officially toxic waste. Which is a shame, since--knock wood--everything's working perfectly.

I would if I could, though.


I'm not sure this is entirely true. IANAD but if a patient is on death's door, they would take any liver they can get just to save the life of the person. It's not ideal...and I understand they have antiviral drugs to help prevent the spread of hepatitis.

This is just what I understand from some personal experience with the transplant process.

Isn't it true, though, that an organ donor card can be overridden by a family member? That ultimately, it is next of kin's decision?


I think this is the case. Which is why, if you become a donor, you need to tell your next of kin about your wishes.
posted by hot_monster at 6:18 PM on May 1, 2012


Yeah, my mom would do....uh, whatever crazy comes into her head on that subject, regardless of my wishes (god knows she ignored my dad's). I am on favor, but she's gonna do what she wants regardless of what the license says.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:06 PM on May 1, 2012


oneironaut, that varies by state. In recent years, a number of states have instituted consent registries; on those registries, signing up to be a donor constitutes legal consent to donate your organs that cannot be overturned by anyone else.

(I'm having trouble locating a comprehensive list; New York is one such state. Note, however, that if you signed up to be a donor before the consent registry was created, you need to sign up again on the consent registry if you want to legally consent to donate.)
posted by beryllium at 6:31 AM on May 2, 2012


Here's a list that indicates what version of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) each of the 50 states uses. According to this summary:

[U]nder Section 8 of the 2006 UAGA, which strengthens the language regarding the finality of a donor’s anatomical gift, there is no reason to seek consent from the donor’s family because the family has no legal right to revoke the gift.

It seems to me that, at a minimum, any state listed as using the 2006 version of the UAGA should have a consent-based registry. (Indeed, since NY is listed as using the 1987 version, consent registries may exist in other states as well.)

Upshot: take a good look at your own state's laws, especially if you haven't recently.

full disclosure: I'm not currently a registered donor--though I am seriously considering becoming one. I am also not a lawyer. I do like reading fine print.
posted by beryllium at 6:50 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


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