You will have heard of the recent tragic accident that took the life former Liverpool and Rangers footballer, Avi Cohen.
Well, a storm has erupted over the the use of his organs.
Y’see, Avi carried a donor card. Avi’s family were in support of his organs being used to help save the lives of others.
However, religious ministers put the kybosh on it all. The reason? Well, medical science has advanced, as it is bound to, where religious dictat has stayed in the dark ages.
We are now able to keep bodies alive by the use of life support machines to give the patient the greatest chance of survival whilst there is still the minutest possibility of hope. It is the advancement of medical science that has enabled us to do this – however, as a result of this, we can prolong the “life” of patients by maintaining blood flow through the vital organs – even though scientific knowledge tells us when the body is clinically dead and cannot be reversed – in short, switch off the machine and the patient dies.
But our religious leaders seem happy to accept the fact that science can intervene to keep bodies “alive” but do not accept it when science informs us that the body is clinically dead – when scientific evidence declares a body clinically dead – they are, for all intents and purposes, dead.
However, the act of switching off the machine, thereby stopping the blood flow, has been likened by religious leaders as akin to murder. These are ignorant people who mislead their followers into believing they can bring brain-dead people back to life – they do not have the capacity, in my view, to make that judgement – and even if they did, science will prove them wrong.
I say, let the religious leaders do what they do best and let medical science do what it does best. If you don’t like the consequences of medical advancement then don’t accept its benefits – stay in the dark ages and let those who have real faith – faith in medical science – have the opportunity to either extend their own lives or provide the rest of us with hope.
Just as an addendum – the shortage of available organs within religious communities has led to an increase in the black market trade of such organs – now where exactly in religious doctrine is that practice acceptable?
Postscript: On re-reading this post prior to publication of this diary I have felt it necessary to re-evaluate my view on this topic. It was following a discussion with my good friend Abraham, an orthodox Jew, who put it this way (*).
Scientific fact is only fact as we know it today. Tomorrow, however, science may discover new ways of keeping people alive when initially pronounced clinically dead. So, continue with medical scientific advancement to improve the welfare for all, but don’t assume that you have the facts at any given point in time.
With this in mind, I find myself sympathetic to that viewpoint.
(*) Abraham, I hope I have represented your view accurately, and thank you for your honesty and insight.
Now there… are 3…. steps to… carry a donor card – ooh, wap wap!
Just follow steps