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Medicine Science

In Israel, Potential Organ Donors Could Jump the Queue 582

Posted by timothy
from the unorthodox-move dept.
laron writes "In Israel, a new law is in the making: Holders of donor cards and their families would get preference if they should need an organ for themselves. Apparently this initiative faces resistance from Orthodox rabbis, who hold that organ donation is against religious law. Jacob Lavee, director of the heart transplant unit at Israel's Sheba Medical Center, and one of the draftees of this new law, hopes that a broader pool of organs will ultimately benefit everyone, but acknowledges that one of his primary motivations is 'to prevent free riders.' (Apparently receiving an organ is OK under religious law.)"
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In Israel, Potential Organ Donors Could Jump the Queue

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  • by goffster (1104287) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:10AM (#31478574)

    can go to the end of the line

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrDoh! (71235)

      Mmm, Bacon.

    • by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:24AM (#31478836)
      I realize you meant that as a joke, but in case anyone was curious it is okay under Jewish law (as interpreted by most Jews, reform conservative and most orthodox) to receive something along those lines. For the most part, if it's for medical purposes, pork is fine. Saving a life takes precedence here.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr. Freeman (933986)
        Saving YOUR life takes precedence. Why is it OK to receive an organ but not to give one? That organ must have been removed in order to be given and then received. If it's a sin to give an organ then it would follow that receiving an organ is benefiting from a sin and thus is a sin in and of itself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hadlock (143607)

          Consult your local Rabbi. Rabbis love to discuss this sort of thing at length and can probably give you a great answer. I don't agree with Israel's politics, but Judaism is actually a very well reasoned religion and have revised their decisions on various things in modern times such as use of electricity on the sabbath, etc. They actually publish these decisions, and I'm sure an actual Jew will chime in here with the name of this collection of published "decisions" that you can then refer to regarding organ

          • Judaism is actually a very well reasoned religion

            Meaning: they are used to making up excuses for their irrational dogmas.

            As I understand it ... man is created in God's image, therefore is as close to perfection as you can already make it

            Cute. Except they make an exception for that one bit that's your most sensitive erogenous zone. And rabbis dare call that bit an imperfection. And even deny the pain that the procedure to "fix it" leads to pain and negative side effects, or even pretend these are a good thing.

            See a dogma, see a contradiction, make up absolute bullshit to keep dogma. Is this "reasoned"? Come on. Judaism is every bit as irrational and retarded as every other religion - but ESPECIALLY retarded for that one dogma, one so insane that it makes my blood boil in rage. If I sound disrespectful, you got it right. I abhor religion in principle, but those that promote genital mutilation, I regard as nothing but evil.

        • by ars (79600) <assd2@dsgml.cDEBIANom minus distro> on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:52AM (#31479274) Homepage

          Jews do not believe it's wrong to donate. What they believe is that, as long as a persons heart is beating they are alive.

          Meaning: They believe it's wrong to murder someone to harvest organs.

          Others believe that after brain death the person is dead, and it's not murder.

          The argument is not over organ donation, which even the strictest rabbi agrees with.

          The argument is over the definition of death, since most organ donation are done after brain, but not cardiac, death.

          • by John Guilt (464909) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:49AM (#31480322)
            Breath animated Adam; the word for the human-level spirit 'ruakh' (as opposed to the animal and divine spirits) is related to breath, air, or wind, like the Sanskrit 'atman', cognate to the Greek 'atmos'. Basically, you become an human being when you first draw breath. And it used to be a lot easier to tell when someone had stopped breathing than when their heart had stopped beating, especially in a body-taboo--rich, culture.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slack0ff (590042) <matbradyNO@SPAMbored.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:11AM (#31478582)
    It's always a tough call when you're talking about life and death and major elective surgeries. But I find myself thinking this is a good thing, that makes sense?
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:32AM (#31479198)

      You will notice that no sensible Jew asks a doc not to perform an emergency operation during Shabbat. Saving a life trumps religious doctrines. Even according to the religious law.

      Shabbat is supposed to make you relax and reflect, it's not supposed to let you die on purpose if you happen to get sick untimely. The whole crap about "God's will" somehow didn't make it into the faith system 'til some nutjobs took it into their hands.

      You'll also notice that it's ok for Muslim to interrupt important things like Ramadan in case they get sick, it's quite ok to drink and even eat during the day when you're dehydrated and your body needs it for survival. Like Shabbat, Ramadan is supposed to make you think and reflect, to realize just how good you got it. It's not supposed to torture you for some holy reason.

      Religions originally did actually make a lot of sense. It wasn't 'til the whackos and nutcases took control of it and turned it into a tool of oppression. Granted, that happened quite quickly after their founders croaked, but I'm pretty sure if Jesus, Mohammed or ... well, whoever wrote the Pentateuch could see what became of their work, they'd be quite pissed at their successors.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LingNoi (1066278)

        Religions originally did actually make a lot of sense. It wasn't 'til the whackos and nutcases took control of it and turned it into a tool of oppression.

        There are two problems with this statement...

        1) Believing in a make believe sky person, for example God(s) qualifies someone as a nutcase to begin with
        2) Religion has and always will be used as a tool of oppression

        In what way does religion ever make any sense? I could tell you unicorns made the earth and I'd have as much proof as any other religion that ma

        • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:03AM (#31479342)

          Religion can actually serve a valuable purpose, especially in primitive cultures. They offer a focal point and a sense of belonging in large groups. The human nature does not allow a sensible cooperation in groups larger than twenty people. Sure, culture and "civilisation" eventually gave us a way to do it, we are today quite able to cooperate with people that do not belong to our "family and friends" group, simply because we learned to do that. Also, we have other structures built that allow us to identify "our" group, from nations to sports team colors.

          Basically religions served a sociologic purpose for early human. When you lack the technology to enforce even the most basic laws (like, say, don't kill your neighbor just 'cause he has the grub you want and you don't feel like going around the corner to the market...), you need some all-seeing all-powerful entity to keep your people in check. Sure, it won't keep everyone in line, but maybe at least a number of the guy won't go at each other's throat for a few handful of rice.

          So yes, religion isn't really a necessity anymore. We can easily replace it with technology. But it did have its place in the history of humanity, and it was quite important in forming our ability to cooperate in larger groups.

          • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

            by LingNoi (1066278) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:48AM (#31480670)

            I completely disagree with you here. What I think you're saying is that religion makes people obey the law; or something along these lines.

            That's simply not true. Most people in this world are naturally good people and want to do good deeds regardless of what they do or do not believe.

  • by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:17AM (#31478600)
    I've been an organ donor since I got my license when I was sixteen. I never really considered that people who WERE NOT organ donors would receive the same treatment in regards to their placement on the the list of people in need of an organ transplant. Total bullshit.
  • It's apparent their time is out, why are the orthodox trying to subvert god's will? Don't they want to go to heaven?

    • by Zapotek (1032314)
      Unless you're a hardcore brainwashed fanatic suicide bomber, religion pretty much goes out the window when your life's on the line...
      • by linzeal (197905) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:14AM (#31478800) Homepage Journal
        A lot of Jewish folk in the US have pig valves in them. There are tons of heart and vascular problems that have nothing to do with diet in some of their communities, it is sort of heartbreaking.
    • Everyone goes to heaven, but there's no reason it has to be sooner rather than later. God can wait the extra few decades before re-making your acquaintance.

    • by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:33AM (#31478872)
      That'd be an odd statement from anyone familiar with Judaism itself, as opposed to someone generalizing it along with other religions.

      According to most Jews' interpretation of Jewish law, saving lives takes priority over nearly everything else. This is why, for example, taking pig insulin is perfectly okay.

      Consider the stereotype of Jews being doctors. Jews, in general, don't like throwing lives away.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rolfwind (528248)

        According to most Jews' interpretation of Jewish law, saving lives takes priority over nearly everything else. This is why, for example, taking pig insulin is perfectly okay.

        And yet, being an organ donor isn't.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Someone hand that guy an interesting mod. This is actually interesting.

          It's true, pretty much the whole Torah goes out the window the moment a life is at stake. It needn't even be yours, when you may only as much as possibly save a life you're not only allowed but actually required to put the religious laws behind that.

          Donating an organ can easily save a life. Not donating would actually be very wrong.

  • crazy hypocrites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:18AM (#31478606) Journal
    That position sounds so insane, that I thought that there must be more to it than that, but no, it really is that hypocritical. Check out this quote from the article:

    "If I can't contribute organs because of my religious beliefs, the state shouldn't be allowed to harm me,"

    Seriously? This is the kind of stuff Jesus was criticizing in the bible: he tried to show that loving each other and helping each other out is more important than following the law to exactness. Fortunately it is a minority that feel this way, most of the rabbis in Israel are more sane (according to the article).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Animats (122034)

      That position sounds so insane, that I thought that there must be more to it than that, but no, it really is that hypocritical.

      That's the religious right. Doesn't matter which religion. The Islamic, Jewish, and Christian far right have much in common - ODing on prayer, oppressing women, having big families, keeping kids from learning too much about the real world, enforcing nutty rules, and demanding tax subsidies. They even have similar looking leaders - old guys with long beards wearing black.

      • Re:crazy hypocrites (Score:5, Interesting)

        by story645 (1278106) <story645@gmail.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:41AM (#31478682) Journal

        oppressing women

        The funny thing about the far right Jews is that most of the guys are in some form of learning program, so the women are often the primary breadwinners. This leads to the average Jewish woman on the far right having more education and job training than her husband.

        • Re:crazy hypocrites (Score:4, Informative)

          by Animats (122034) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:55PM (#31483692) Homepage

          The funny thing about the far right Jews is that most of the guys are in some form of learning program, so the women are often the primary breadwinners. This leads to the average Jewish woman on the far right having more education and job training than her husband.

          In the US, that's true. In Israel, the ultra-orthodox have Government subsidies. [latimes.com]. There are American Jews who think this is a disaster for Israel. "In Israel today, two-thirds of ultra-Orthodox men spend their days studying the Torah and Talmud and do not participate in the workforce. Their unemployment is subsidized by the state to the tune of about $1.3 billion a year. There is nothing inherent in ultra-Orthodox religious tenets that keeps believers from working: In countries such as Britain and the United States, ultra-Orthodox families do work because they know that they can't depend on outlays from the state. Israel must adopt similar rules if it wants a first-class economy."

          Saudi Arabia has dug itself into a similar hole, with a huge number of state-subsidized religious figures, but they have oil money.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @03:34AM (#31478874)

        They even have similar looking leaders - old guys with long beards wearing black.

        And of course, they have formed a coalition to control the world through the sound of awesome rock music, otherwise known as ZZ Top.

    • Re:crazy hypocrites (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tom90deg (1190691) <Tom90deg@yahoo.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:47AM (#31478714) Homepage

      It's always very difficult when religion and medicine clash. If you're a doctor, chances are good that at some point, someone will refuse treatment because of their religious beliefs. Most of the time it's "Whatever, you'll be in pain for the next two weeks, but that's your choice." but it's gets much much harder if say, a little girl is brought in with a fever that's getting worse. "No problem, give her some basic meds, and she'll be good to go." you'd think, and then her parents show up and say, "You can't give her any medication." And you know that without it, the girl WILL die, or at best have severe brain damage. Try to explain this to the parents, and they just say, "It's our beliefs, no medicine can be given." And legally, you can't do anything, and if you DO give the girl medicaiton and save her life, you can and will be sued for malpractice.

      I don't mind religion, so long as it doesn't harm anyone, but people who would actually think, "We would rather our child die then be given medicine." I just don't understand.

      • Re:crazy hypocrites (Score:5, Interesting)

        by demonlapin (527802) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:13AM (#31480124) Homepage Journal
        If it's a life-saving procedure on a minor, you can very easily do something about it legally. Have the hospital lawyers get a court order. We do it for Jehovah's Witnesses' children and blood on a reasonably frequent basis.
      • Re:crazy hypocrites (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:13PM (#31483042) Homepage

        First, I agree with you, but I'll go ahead and toss something really controversial and maybe burn some karma:

        How is a society that allows children to die from parental withholding of medication any different than a society that allows children to grow up into a life of crime, or poverty, or obesity, or any number of other things that can happen to kids because they don't have great parents?

        Withholding of medicine is an easy target, but the fact is that society is quite content to let kids fail in numerous ways simply for being born to the wrong parents. The problem is that fixing this is EXTREMELY difficult if not impossible - it isn't just a matter of throwing a moderate amount of money at the problem. Avoiding the problem is also highly repugnant to most people since the only way to avoid it is to mandate contraception implants for everybody unless you have a breeding license, or abort children post-conception (and figure out what to do with kids that manage to survive past birth).

        In reality, the odd kid that dies from treatable pneumonia makes the news but is a blip in the statistics. The real problem (size-wise) is the millions of kids who go on to live in slums or prisons. As a society we seem to be willing to accept a LOT of the latter but none of the former, and I'm not sure it really has anything to do with being genuinely interested in child welfare.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the kind of stuff Jesus was criticizing in the bible

      Jesus is not high on the orthodox required reading list.

      Hah!!! captcha = ducked

      • To be honest, it really doesn't matter. Jesus based his entire message on the law of Moses, and, as the article mentions, most rabbis agree with him on this point.
  • Opt-out (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I never understood why organ donation is opt-in rather than opt-out.

    I can understand having religious convictions not to be a donor but the default ought to be "your organs are up for grabs"

    • by laron (102608)

      I would like to see a law of this type combined with a decision: When you renew your driver's license, national ID card or whatever, you have to decide if you would like to participate in organ transplantation (on the donating end only once you are dead of course). This decision is marked in your driver license, so easy to find if you should be a victim of a traffic accident or something like that.

    • They're opt-out in many European countries today.

    • Re:Opt-out (Score:4, Informative)

      by Animaether (411575) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:48AM (#31478726) Journal

      I never understood why organ donation is opt-in rather than opt-out.

      It's a good question - good luck getting any answers, though.

      This has been playing in The Netherlands for a long time now - seems to pop up every few years.

      In 1998 the centralized 'donor register' was started. People can indicate that they want to be a donor, what bits and pieces, that sort of thing.. or indicate that they do -not- want to be a donor. So it's opt-in - by default, if you're not registered / don't have aything written down in your will, your next of kin may decide (in which case 75% of the decisions on this are made against donating organs from the deceased).
      In 2002 the 'minister of health' said there would be no change for at least 2 years, after 2/3rds of the government decisionmakers decided against an opt-out system.
      In 2005, another voting round was held... 78 against, 68 -for- an opt-out system.
      I think there was another debate in 2008 or early 2009 but can't find a reference now.

      None of the press articles on these state why they were against an opt-out system, though. Only statements such as being in favor of promoting becoming a donor, or at least registering - regardless of your choice.

      I'm guessing it's got to do with the taboo on death that still lingers - probably even moreso in the U.S.

      Either that or they fear that somebody would find out that you actively said "no, you can't take my organs", and then couple this to other databases / provisions / label you a cold, selfish, heartless (can't donate that, then!) bastard, etc.

      I'm all for opt-out, with parents/guardians decision up to age 12, at which point anybody can decide for themselves, and at younger ages if the child can demonstrate that they do indeed know what they are deciding on, the consequences, etc. should it come to it that the parent(s)/guardian(s) disagree with the child.
      ( My Sister's Keeper was an interesting, albeit superficial, exploration of that theme )

      • Re:Opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:32AM (#31479194) Journal

        I'm guessing it's got to do with the taboo on death that still lingers - probably even moreso in the U.S.

        When I die, my body does not belong to the State.

        I'm inherently suspicious of anything designed to be opt-out...
        And exceedingly suspicious of any opt-out program designed to take property away from me or my kin.

        If you don't know, your corpse belongs to your estate unless it goes unclaimed for a certain period of time,
        at which point your corpse belong to the State (and the remains are useless for anything besides an anatomy lesson).

        • Re:Opt-out (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:26AM (#31479474) Journal

          When I die, my body does not belong to the State.

          When you die, you belong to no one. While you're alive, you can't transfer property rights over your body (one living person can't own another living person) and when you're dead you're not alive to agree to the transfer. Things like wills are constructions of the state to enforce property rights after you're dead. To that end, the state has a lot of power to possess things when you're dead. The fact that a vast majority of people might in fact want to put your body to good use when you're dead is, at least from a moral perspective, a good basis for supporting opt-out systems, anyways. It's not like, after all, you can't say "no" (and yes, clerical errors will likely occur, but there's no way to get around that since you'll be too dead to answer).

          I'm inherently suspicious of anything designed to be opt-out...
          And exceedingly suspicious of any opt-out program designed to take property away from me or my kin.

          Then you must free very suspicious of the legal system in general. Not only can it take your property, it can also take your liberty or your life. There's no real way to opt-out of it except leaving the State (and even then, extradition can get you); but, then, leaving the State also protects you from the opt-out donor system.

          If you don't know, your corpse belongs to your estate unless it goes unclaimed for a certain period of time,
          at which point your corpse belong to the State (and the remains are useless for anything besides an anatomy lesson).

          And estates are a by-product of State law (or a family with a lot of guns and a willingness to defend the property). This is, fundamentally, no different than estate tax laws. If you're really against the whole concept of your corpse being possibly used for organ donation, feel free to vote against it and opt-out if a law pass. But, if the vast majority wants an opt-out system, you don't much standing to complain, really.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          When I die, my body does not belong to the State.

          Well that makes you a selfish, heartless meanie and the modern media won't be inclined to give you much of a platform. So you may a well just stop talking while they get a weeping family who lost someone due to lack of organs to bawl until the next time slot. Once those tears start to flow, your cause is a good as dead. Which is fine anyway, because the majority is just going to vote to make your organs belong to them anyway.

          Isn't democracy grand.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by houghi (78078)

        Belgium has an opt-out. This results in sometimes people moarning in front of empty graves or people not knowing that their loved ones are cut to pieces. Also next of kin deciding not to do it, even though that is against the law.

        The advantage is that there is an opt-out law. The disadvantage is that many people are not aware of it and it is seldom discussed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233)
        In Australia we went backwards.
        In at least one state there was a box to tick on the form to apply for or renew a drivers licence that said something like "do you want to be an organ donor". Most people agreed and had it written right there on the drivers licence for a doctor to read whether they were donating your organs or not.
        That changed and now there is a more complex process to sign up and a more complex process to identify potential organ donors.
  • awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by story645 (1278106) <story645@gmail.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:24AM (#31478622) Journal

    Maybe this will open up more discussion of the religious permissibility of organ donations, which is a topic that's nowhere near as black and white as some people make it out to be. Plenty of orthodox rabbis also say donating is permissible (as far as I've heard from members of the New York ultra-orthodox contingent) in a lot of circumstances, but their voices seem to get drowned out far too often. I'd love to see some real discussion of the topic, so while yeah the measure is radical, it's also kind of brilliant. It's also an interesting approach to tackling the religious/secular divide in Israel, which makes the American one look downright friendly.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Israel has various religious sub-groups, and it's only in the extreme orthodox group (Haredim) that organ donation is problematic. In the moderate orthodox community some rabbis have suggested that it's an obligation to sign the donation card.

  • Oh yeah. It's everywhere.

    For instance around late March and early April we'll have passover. It's forbidden to eat anything yeasty or something like that on passover, so no beer, whiskey or more importantly: bread.

    See, I always bring a sandwich with me to work and eat at my desk. It's what I do. I like having my sandwich for lunch because I don't feel like heading to the kitchen. But now I'll have to find an alternative because my office is apparently supposed to be kept kosher for passover.

    Nobody honestly

    • by Al Dimond (792444)

      What kind of place do you work where the whole office is supposed to keep kosher? Unless you work for a religious Jewish organization that's kind of insane.

  • Sounds fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:36AM (#31478668)
    I may be missing something, and feel free to tell me. But I have no problem with donors being higher on the list. It makes sense to reward altruism in society and this certainly fits the bill. Sure some religions might interject, but just like organ donation religious practices are a choice and like every choice they carry consequences. That's not to say non-donors shouldn't get organs, but they should not be the priority.
    • Well, to want an organ but not willing to be a donor sounds hypocritical.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dziman (415307)

      Should a smoker dying of lung cancer get a second pair of lungs before a person that is not a smoker and did not choose to be an organ donor, but instead has lung cancer due to second hand smoke? That's a nice gray area for you.

      Or would you like it a bit more simple:

      A child whose parents are not organ donors, and can't choose because the child is not old enough, is dying of a disease that has destroyed her lungs. Should the smoking lung cancer patient that selected "organ donor" get the lungs before the chi

      • Re:Sounds fair (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bartab (233395) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:49AM (#31479616)

        Two points:

        1) Cancers are almost never 'cured' by transplantation. If your organ is failing due to a cancer, be prepared to die regardless of the reason for the cancer. This is largely because the new organ would almost certainly also be a loss.

        2) At least in the US, Children are already at the top of the list.

  • by rm999 (775449) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:40AM (#31478676)

    Instead of 2 choices (donor or non-donor), how about a third category: donor with preference to other donors. This takes the decision away from the government and to the owner of the organs.

    I'm sure some people would be willing to donate to anyone, but the majority would choose the new third option.

  • by miasmatic (740281) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:41AM (#31478684)
    Organ donation is NOT always against Jewish law (Halacha). In fact there is almost always a way that it is totally fine and even further, there are interpretations that suggest that not being an organ donor is a violation of Halacha! Please see http://hods.org/ [hods.org] for a very good observant Jewish organization that seeks to make more orthodox Jews organ donors.
  • some inaccuracies (Score:2, Informative)

    by MajSh (1139279)
    Organ donation doesn't conflict with the Jewish religion, in fact there is a religious law that authorizes it under few minor limitations. Also, the law is widely supported by most Israelis, there's a very small orthodox minority that doesn't support it because the public they represent has a low percentage of organ donor card holders and not due to a conflict with religion.
  • by davidl71 (1767514) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:43AM (#31478696)
    Most Orthodox Rabbis are not against organ transplants. They disagree about the determination of death. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_donation_in_Jewish_law [wikipedia.org]
  • That's a good idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:43AM (#31478698)

    Why should you get a organ from someone who just died if you aren't willing to give the same if you die?

    Except for the group of people who have something that means they aren't candidates for organ donations but are candidates for organ transplant (I don't know if there is such a pair, but you don't take organs from people with aids or numerous other illnesses) - they are going to get the short end of the stick. Though it's a simple exception to add.

  • Seems fine... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Entropius (188861) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:47AM (#31478712)

    Normal rules of ethics dictate that the commons should be more willing to help someone out if they're willing to donate to the commons too. This is related to the idea behind the GPL. If you have two friends who are short a buck for lunch, you're more likely to give your only dollar to the one who's more likely to spot you when you come up short.

    Just because organ donation is a matter of life and death doesn't mean that it plays by any different rules than "ordinary" ethics -- it just means the stakes for getting it right are that much higher. The commons should encourage people to contribute /to/ the commons, thereby enriching everyone, and rules like this are just one way to do it.

    And this sort of ethics is independent of anyone's primitive superstitions. Superstitions are fine -- believe whatever you want -- but don't expect reality to change to suit them.

  • Apparently this initiative faces resistance from Orthodox rabbis, who hold that organ donation is against religious law.

    There's a shortage of donors as it is where too many are dragging their feet when it comes to registering. This new rule seems to make the "game" fairer.

    But how I understand it, orthodox who explicitly refuse donating organs apparently want to dictate rules for matches they don't even participate in. What's it then? Do they want be in front of the queue for accepting organs? Play the game or leave the table. Another fine example of religious representatives imposing themselves, interpreting the word of Go

  • Orthodox rabbis? (Score:2, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 (941042)

    Orthodox Judaism considers it obligatory if it will save a life, as long as the donor is considered dead as defined by Jewish law (from Wikipedia)

    What gives? Can anyone shed light on this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Roman Kalik (1634843)
      Read the article first linked, it is actually clear enough. The issue is *not* whether or not organ donation is good or bad (in Judaism, it's good, and expected, by definition - it saves lives, and human life is above pretty much the rest of the religion in Judaism). The issue is about how the organs are recovered, and unlike how the article claims it, it isn't merely an issue with Rabbi Eliashiv being the minority view. The problem is entirely with a conflict between the medicinal and religious definition
  • Slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VShael (62735) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:58AM (#31479302) Journal

    When you start putting an acceptable face on preferential medical treatment, it's the thin end of the wedge.

    How long before this perfectly acceptable and seemingly reasonable tier-ring system is tweaked some more?
    Perhaps soldiers get preferential treatment? I can see that meeting little public resistance.
    Then soldiers and their immediate families.
    And if soldiers, why not fire-fighters or even other medical staff?

    Or politicians?

    At what point do people enter a job market, or start a political campaign, just to help a loved one move up a few spaces on the transplant waiting list?

    And if it did extend as far as politicians, what with campaign contributions being as messed up as they are, how is that any different than buying the organs in the first place?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      When you start putting an acceptable face on preferential medical treatment, it's the thin end of the wedge.

      "Preferential medical treatment" is called triage and is practiced everywhere. The wedge has sailed. People receive according to need. Adding in another in a long line of tie-breakers wouldn't affect that one bit. Or didn't you know that there is already a setup just like you claim is "starting" with this, and that system has been in place for many years?
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:36AM (#31479532)
    There was a story a couple months ago [nypost.com] about a bunch of cyclists in Brooklyn who tried to repaint some bike lanes there. The city had sandblasted them away at the request of Hasidic Jews who complained that bike lanes attracted female cyclists with huge boobies.

    Groups of bicycle-riding vigilantes have been repainting 14 blocks of Williamsburg roadways ever since the city sandblasted their bike lanes away last week at the request of the Hasidic community.

    The Hasids, who have long had a huge enclave in the now-artist-haven neighborhood, had complained that the Bedford Avenue bike paths posed both a safety and religious hazard.

    Scantily clad hipster cyclists attracted to the Brooklyn neighborhood made it difficult, the Hasids said, to obey religious laws forbidding them from staring at members of the opposite sex in various states of undress. These riders also were disobeying the traffic laws, they complained.

    Two cycling advocates were apprehended by the Shomrim Patrol, a Hasidic neighborhood watch group, as they repainted a section of bike lane at 3:30 a.m. yesterday, but when cops arrived, no one was arrested and no summonses were issued, police said.

    "These people should apply for a job at the DOT," neighborhood activist Isaac Abraham said of the repainting. "You put it on, they take it off -- and they will probably do this again."

    A Department of Transportation spokesman said: "We will continue to work with any community on ways we can make changes to our streets without compromising safety."

    A source close to Mayor Bloomberg said removing the lanes was an effort to appease the Hasidic community just before last month's election.

    Abraham contends the bike lanes put children at risk of getting hit by cars or bicycles as they exited school buses.

    But Baruch Herzfeld, who has tried to bridge the gap between hipsters and Hasids with a bike-rental program, said safety is not the issue so much as xenophobia.

    "They don't want the hipsters in their neighborhood," he said. "It's like in Howard Beach back in the day when they didn't want black people in the neighborhood."

    The cycling advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has not taken sides in the dispute.

    But bike lane or not, "cyclists have a right to be on Bedford Avenue," said Wiley Norvell, a group spokesman.

    (First of all, to clear up the nitpick: "But you don't need a bike lane to ride down the street!" It's there to keep people from running you over, not to give you legal sanction to use the street.) What's amazing here is that an American city outside Utah acquiesced to demands that a piece of public infrastructure be degraded, on the basis of someone's religious objections to women who are not covered. It was a boneheaded decision to enforce values of a single religious group upon the public at large.

    In Israel, where I presume there are no bike lanes, there is clearly not the messy separation of church and state that exists here (for now). Maybe it's fine there for religous law to dictate secular law. But there isn't much organ donation in Israel because of people's religious beliefs. An "opt-out" system isn't discriminatory in any way, but the same sort of people who got the City of New York to sandblast its bike lanes are the ones who will claim discrimination.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Solandri (704621)

      What's amazing here is that an American city outside Utah acquiesced to demands that a piece of public infrastructure be degraded, on the basis of someone's religious objections to women who are not covered. It was a boneheaded decision to enforce values of a single religious group upon the public at large.

      Why is it amazing? That's the way the U.S. is set up to work - to strike a balance allowing geographical differences in local community standards to coexist with larger scale government standards. The

  • by volpe (58112) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:43AM (#31479940)

    (Apparently receiving an organ is OK under religious law.)

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