IlliNo1s at Organ Donation

Illinois has a “first-person consent” law regarding organ/tissue donation. Here’s what that means:

First-person consent makes your decision to be an organ/tissue donor legally binding. Additional witnesses or family consent is no longer required to carry out your wishes in the event of your death. In the event a person has not had the opportunity to join the first-person consent registry, or is under the age of 18, next-of kin will still be approached for consent.

I registered. You should, too (if you live in Illinois and you’re 18).

This policy seems to be working. Donors have increased by 20% since the law went into effect in 2006.

Hopefully, other states will take notice.

While you’re at it, Illinois people, go fill out the paperwork to donate your bodies to science (you can and should do both). It’s not as easy as signing up to be an organ donor, but it’s a wonderful way to put your body to use after you die.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Mercurious

    I have always checked the donor box when I get/renew my license. Plus I have always made my wishes known to family. If my accident can give life for someone else I support it 100%. If I recall when I was living in Indiana they had different “degrees” small things through major organs up to whole body. I always did the whole body. Plus I’ve always stated I want to be cremated. It’s the ultimate form of recycling.

  • Mark

    I’d go even farther than that. I know it will never happen in the USA, but why not an opt-out law? Make people who DON’T want to be donors sign something saying so. The default position should be to donate.

    Countries which implement the opt-out law have MUCH higher rates of organ donation, and essentially no waiting list for organs. It makes a HUGE difference.

    Wikipedia has some info on the countries that have opt-out laws vs. those who don’t, here.

    -Mark

  • http://www.DonateLifeIllinois.org Scott M.

    Hey Hemant,

    Thanks again for spreading the word. The state has truly progressed with the initiation of the new first-person consent registry and it’s starting to make a huge difference in the amount of lives that are saved each year.

    A reminder that if you’re an Illinois resident and you haven’t registered since Jan. 1, 2006, be sure to take a quick moment to do so at http://www.DonateLifeIllinois.org.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I’d go even farther than that. I know it will never happen in the USA, but why not an opt-out law? Make people who DON’T want to be donors sign something saying so. The default position should be to donate.

    Great idea, Mark!

    I’ve always told my loved ones that I want every single part of my body to be donated to medicine or science so that there’s nothing left of me to dispose of. They either don’t believe me or think that is morbid. It would be great if they didn’t have a choice in the matter… :)

  • Jen

    Hmmm, I had always heard that you could not donate your body and your organs, it was an either-or type thing.

  • http://DonateLifeIllinois.org Scott

    The opt-out system is definitely an interesting idea and I’m pretty surprised to see the U.K. acting so quickly on the idea. I agree, it would be a pretty tough sell in the U.S. and very unlikely that it would ever happen. Bob Aronson posted on the topic yesterday here. He addressed a few advantages and disadvantages that I thought were interesting.

  • http://unorthodoxatheism.blogspot.com Reed Braden

    I think the laws of Virginia say that my family can override my organ donation consent in the event of brain death or death, but I’m registered as a donor and I’ve informed my parents that if I am brain dead or there is any situation where I may become brain dead and another person’s life could be saved with one of my organs to go ahead and take it. They seemed to be cool with it.

  • http://www.lifesharers.org Dave Undis

    Despite the wonderful generosity of the people of Illinois, the shortage of human organs for transplant operations continues to get worse every year.

    Over half of the 98,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

  • Bob Aronson

    Let me start with the fact that I am an organ donor and an organ (heart) recipiIent. I got my heart from a generous stranger seven months ago. I know what it is like to be dying and what it is like to hope beyond hope that you will get an organ.

    LIFESHARERS — TRUTHSTRETCHERS

    If you want to save lives through organ donation, Joining LifeSharers is not the answer. They are illusionists and what you see is not what you get. If you are a LifeSharers member and you believe in fairness and in helping all people regardless of position in life, consider resigning your membership. I offer four reasons for my admonitions.

    1. Deception: According to LifeSharers, “Organ donors should get organs first.” That is what they say but it is not what they mean. Just being an organ donor is not enough; you have to be an organ donor and a member of LifeSharers. Proof? Read this quote from http://www.lifesharers.org “Even if you are already a registered organ donor, you should join the LifeSharers network. By doing so, you will have access to organs that otherwise may not be available to you.” In other words, if you don’t join you have no access — even if you are a registered donor.

    2. Insensitive, Immoral, Selfish: On the LifeSharers FAQ they ask, “Shouldn’t organs go first to the people who need them most and have been waiting longest? Their answer: “Organs should go first to the people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die…” Funny, until I wrote my last LifeSharers blog the answer started with, “NO.” But they removed the “No” when I was critical of it. LifeSharers does not care if you have only days to live. Unless you are a member of their club, you don’t get first dibs on an organ.

    3. Insincere distraction. All over the U.S. there are honest programs doing what they can to promote fair and equitable organ donation. LifeSharers only hampers those efforts by confusing people. It is important to note, too, that for LifeSharers to grow large enough to have any influence and treat everyone fairly, everyone would have to join — everyone! When was the last time you heard of everyone joining anything? Besides, at their current rate of growth, about 2,000 members a year, it would take 500 years for LifeSharers to get a million members. But give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they can grow by 4,000 members a year. Then it will only take them 250 years to get to a million. There are 300 million people in the U.S.

    4. Discriminatory & Unfair: If you haven’t heard about donation, have wrong information, just didn’t get around to signing up or don’t have access to a computer, LifeSharers thinks you don’t exist. If you are on the list and dying but not a member, LifeSharers isn’t interested in you. If you are an organ donor and dying, LifeSharers doesn’t care about you. Being an organ donor does not count unless you are a LifeSharers member.

    Don’t be fooled by LifeSharers double talk, misdirection and truthstretching. Read and dissect what they have to say. It’s nonsense, it is unfair and it contradicts itself.

    If you really want to help those in need of organs, sign a donor card, get it on your driver’s license, tell your family and then ask your family and friends to do the same. Those are the actions that will save lives. Want more information contact your local OPO or Donate Life America http://www.donatelife.net/.

    PEACE from a grateful, no strings attached heart recipient and long-time registered organ donor. http://bobsnewheart.wordpress.com

    Comments: 5 Comments Edit

    Blood Shortage Jeopardizes ent.

  • Keith

    Interesting posts. My Father has two cornea transplants, and I have a female cousin who has lived with a liver transplant for nearly a decade.

    Personally, I am a whole body donor, to the Anatomic Gift Foundation of Maryland. Donating to the AGF is free of charge, and bodies are transported to their tissue lab from anywhere in the continental US. Donated cadavers are used for medical research for curing specific diseases like cancer, genetic problems, Alzheimer’s, and developing new products and drugs.

    Ashes can be returned to the family by the AGF, upon request, but I would prefer that every cell and body part be used for research and transplanation, and that my leftovers be incinerated as medical waste.

    You can contact the AGF at 1-800-300-LIFE, or go to their web site, http://www.anatomicgift.com.

    Other options, including plastination (www.bodyworlds.com), and medical school donation (check your state medical school for more information on whole body donations) are available, as well.

    It’s always amusing that people fret over the treatment and disposal of their physical remains, which will either decompose in a musty grave, or be burned to tiny bone fragments, in traditional funerals. Any self-respecting person, Christian, Hindu, Buddist, Jewish, atheist or agnostic, should seriously consider body donation, as you can make a life-affirming decision and contribute to the world long after your demise.


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