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Ignorance not solely with politicians

May 11, 2010 - John Stack
                In the last couple days, a local resident, Fred Mason of Tupper Lake, has written to both the Press Republican and the Enterprise. He was ranting about legislation which would presumptively assume you would choose to have your organs donated (as opposed to the current opt-in method).
                Now let me tell you about my best friend in high school. I met Ron Miller in 7th grade. Along with him and a few other kids, we were all inseperable in high school, and we all still keep in touch. We played sports together, double dated at the prom, hung out and I was there to see him off to the Navy in the summer of 1985. While in the Navy, his father came down with a kidney disease in his mid 50s. They tried everything. He was on dialysis. He lost his leg. He finally spent the last months of his life in a hospital, much of it in a coma. Now, less than 10 years later, and 23 years in on his Navy career, Ron finds out he also has kidney disease. His kidney functions at less than 10 percent. He also has to undergo dialysis, either at home 3-4 times a day, or twice a week for 4 hours at a clinic. He has a wife of over 20 years and a daughter graduating high school this year.
                Now Fred, you state that we should not kid ourselves. Doctors, hospitals and drug insurance companies all make billions each year recycling our body parts. Well Fred, doctors, hospitals and drug companies make billions each year, even without transplanting organs. And you know what? These hospitals and doctors and drug companies also save millions of lives each year!! If they make a buck while doing it, good for them! Should doctors work for free? Should drug companies spend billions on new drugs then give them away when they’ve been developed? Right now, over 84,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants. They are all in final organ failure stages waiting for a donor. Many who need organs aren’t on a list, because of a number of factors. My friend Ron is not on a list because he has a brother who is a match, and they are going through final tests to see if his brother Rick truly can donate a kidney.
                The legislation discussed here is being pushed by the New York Organ Donor Network (Senate Bill S4999). Rather than sign up to donate (which Fred says that only 11 percent of us New Yorkers have done) you would have to opt out. Fred claims he would have to fill out some state mandated paperwork to decline organ donation. I’m sure it will be as easy to decline as it is to include – there will probably be a checkbox on your next driver’s license application. Not what I would call a true hardship.
 Last week I took a son Jonny to the DMV to get his permit. He asked what the organ donation box was for. When I explained it to him, he immediately signed. Unless you have a moral or religious opposition to organ donation, for my friend Ron, as well as countless other mothers, fathers, children, husbands, wives and friends, please sign your license to donate your organs.


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