Enjoyed dinner with Kidney Wales Foundation in Cardiff last night. Lots of talk about the introduction of the principle of 'opting out' from organ donation, rather than 'opting in'. Felt as though I was the only one in the room who disagreed until Assembly Member, Jonathan Morgan, who had been making a few ripples of his own yesterday, told me that he'd chaired the Assembly Committee which had considered this issue in depth, and had taken the same view as me. Anyway, my opinion is of little consequence because the Assembly Health Minister, Edwina Hart backs the change to 'opting out'. Edwina has many strong points, but listening is not one of them.
Coincidentally, there was a relevant and provocative piece in yesterday's Telegraph (on page 22 - after all the stuff about floating duck palaces and MP's 'opting out' of facing the voters at the next election). How's this for a question? Should transplants be given to people who are so unhappy with life that they wish to commit suicide? Yes is the easy answer,while there are plenty of livers, kidneys etc. available for donation to satisfy demand. But there's not. At present many people, desperate to live and with much to live for, die waiting for a replacement organ to become available. These are people who would be forever grateful for an organ which has been given to someone who doesn't want to live anyway! This debate usually centres around whether organs are given to people who need one only because they have so abused their bodies - and may well continue with the same lifestyle.
I cannot answer this question - largely because its impossible to know where to draw lines, and make the choices. But the fact that I am asking myself the question tells me that there is a case for saying No, even if it impossible to compile a set of guidelines to make it possible. And I thought the question of whether 'opting out' was difficult!