Good grief! A Maryland state legislator has filed a bill that would allow surrogate decision makers to “donate” kidneys and liver lobes. From HB 449:
THIS SUBSECTION APPLIES ONLY TO A PATIENT WHO HAS BEEN CERTIFIED UNDER § 5–606(B) OF THIS SUBTITLE TO BE IN A PERSISTENT 8 VEGETATIVE STATE.
(3) A PERSON AUTHORIZED TO MAKE HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR ANOTHER UNDER THIS SECTION MAY AUTHORIZE THE DONATION OF A NONVITAL ORGAN IF THE DONATION IS BASED ON:
(I) THE WISHES OF THE PATIENT AS PREVIOUSLY EXPRESSED BY THE PATIENT; OR
(II) A DETERMINATION BY THE SURROGATE THAT THE DONATION IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PATIENT’S RELEVANT RELIGIOUS AND MORAL BELIEFS AND PERSONAL VALUES.
Unconscious patients would hardly seem to be in a state of health to permit such surgeries. But surely when people can’t make their own decisions, surrogates–as fiduciaries–must work solely for the medical benefit of the incompetent person.
I know people will say, “What if it is the patient’s child” or some such. But we can’t do it! We can’t treat incompetent patients as objects for the benefit of others. This proposal is merely the latest attempt to permit unconscious patients to be used as so many organ farms. And if the surgery kills the patient, why then other organs might be available. I repeat: Good grief.
Comment from Maureen:
Wow, what a great way to discourage people from signing organ donation cards! Hit your head, and they’ll steal all your organs while you’re out!
Oh, and if the patient wakes up and wants his kidney or liver back, is there a return policy? Can the patient claim a pound of flesh from the doctors and the “guardian”?