X-Message-Number: 16305
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 04:37:14 EDT
Subject: "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law..."


If passed, the following proposed legislation in North Carolina may mean a 
"net positive" in terms of extended humans life-years. "Net" implies more 
individuals may be in the group helped and fewer in the group likely harmed.  
Unfortunately, thoes planning a cryopreservation may have a one hundered 
percent representation in the later group.  Hmmm...how much would it cost to 
have "Hands off !!--Call: 810-791-5961--Thanks!" tatooed across one's chest?

From the Saturday, May 19, 2001 edition of the News & Observer (major 
Raleigh, NC newspaper):



State Senate Bill 907, "Organ Donations Presumed," would allow doctors to 
remove a person's organs for transplantation four hours after he or she is 
pronounced dead, if there were no known wishes to the contrary and if a 
family member or guardian did not arrive, even if that person had not 
previously signed an organ donor card.

The bill would also grant immunity from criminal or civil liability to health 
care professionals who remove a person's organs in those circumstances.

Most vital organs that are "harvested" are taken from individuals pronounced 
dead according to "brain death" criteria, but whose hearts are still beating 
during the time organs are being removed.  Not everyone agrees that "brain 
death" is equivalent to death.  I have co-edited a book denying the 
equivalence, and a recent statement, "Brain Death--Enemy of Life and Truth," 
has been signed by almost 250 individuals, including 47 physicians, from 25 

If "brain death" is not death, then removing the heart or liver from a "brain 
dead" patient kills that patient.  If I were declared "brain dead," I would 
not want my unpaired vital organs to be taken.  If Senate Bill 907 passes, my 
organs could be removed against my wishes.  Although the current system does 
not give people sufficient information about what goes on in organ donation 
before they sign a donor card, it at least gives them a choice in the matter. 
 I do not want my choice to be taken away.

Associate Professor of Philosophy 
Methodist College



David C. Johnson, Raleigh, NC

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