All for Paul

The Living for Eden concert went off without a hitch, with 100% of the receipts going towards Paul Cardall‘s Heart Transplant Fund. According to The Deseret News, practically everyone wanted to help – production people, soundboard operators, graphic designers, and even the ushers. And everyone who stepped onstage sang or played for free.

So while everyone is happy that the concert went well, Paul, his wife Lynette, and their daughter Eden continue to wait for the phone to ring. The call came once before, on Christmas Eve, no less. It turned out to be a false alarm: the heart was unacceptable.

Hearts have a limited shelf life; once removed from a donor, they can survive for about four hours. Although there is a new machine that can recreate the environment of a human body and keep a heart going for up to 12 hours, they are new not yet in widespread use. So some hearts that are perfect matches are turned down just because they are too far away. And perfectly nice guys like Paul Cardall have to wait… and hope.

So let’s think “out of the box” once again: Is there any legal way to increase the number of hearts available for transplantation? I believe there is: Make Heart Transplantation “Opt-out” rather than “Opt-in”.

Under current laws and practices, you (or your survivors, if you have passed away) have to decide that donating your organs is what you want to do, and you have to sign forms making that fact known. Since you have to make the choice, this is known as “Opt-in”… you have to choose to participate.

“Opt-out” would mean that all cadaver hearts (with certain exceptions) would automatically be considered for use in a transplant. If you don’t want to participate, you have to sign forms making that fact known. It’s the same system we have now – only in reverse.

This is certain to be controversial, especially to those of us with moral or religious objections. And some would wonder if it were really easy to get out of the program. But if we can make saying “No!” as easy as it is to currently say “Yes!” and limit it to the guidelines we currently use (Death must occur due to sudden trauma that does not affect the heart) I think that it could work.

And if there are still doubters, write a clause into the legislation that causes the system to revert to Opt-in after two years. Then check the results, and determine how many people were saved. And perhaps make the case to designate Opt-out as a permanent solution.


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5 Responses to “All for Paul”

  1. Agnès Says:

    That’s the current law in Portugal and it has seriously increased the number of organs (not only hearts) available for transplants.

  2. carolyn compton Says:

    In Australia, we are having the same debate, but are still opt-in. When we renew our driver’s licence, we opt-in and it says “donor” on the front of it. Good peer pressure to opt-in tho’ don’t you think? Those with religious points of view will be opt-out no matter what anyway, they would actively seek to do this. Yesterday in the paper, there was a story in the Sydney morning herald about a hypoplastic heart boy (5 years old and presumably HLHS) who will be the youngest heart transplant boy in aussie. our current record apparently is fiona coote, who was 14 at the time. i met her once, while i was stacking shelves at Coles supermarket and she was so full of energy a few years later. My friend in mother’s group is currently next on the list for a kidney/pancreas….what a bed of anxiety the wait is. she is next up because she is having two organs…she is relatively well so i hope it is soon for her.

  3. Ellinger Family Says:

    We went to Paul’s concert and it was awesome! Paul played a piano solo at the end called Gracie’s Theme for Gracie Gledhill. It was beautiful and you could have heard a pin drop after the song was played. It was only after our son was born that my husband and I had the conversation between ourselves if we wanted to donate organs or not. We concluded that we both would and that acceptable organs from our children, heaven forbid that circumstance should happen, would be given as well. I think a major problem with organ donation is that people don’t really know the need or don’t want to have that conversation with their loved ones before the circumstance arises. A bill like that would change thousands of lives.

  4. Kelly Says:

    Steve..great post. Baby Shepherd(CoA) needs our prayers today… They are operating to give him a tracheostomy.

  5. No Anti-Rejection Drugs Needed! « Adventures of a Funky Heart! Says:

    […] While stem cells show a lot of promise – everything from using adult stem cells to regenerate heart tissue (needs work) to building a new heart (needs a lot of work) it doesn’t hold a candle to a technique we’ve discussed before: mandatory organ donation. […]

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