Lose weight so you can donate organs?

A study done at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research showed that obesity is contributing to a "shortage of organs for donation."  From Inquisitor.com
In an analysis of 104 potential kidney donors, researchers at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research found that 23 percent of the patients were classified as morbidly obese.  A person who is classified as morbidly obese is not able to donate an organ.
What to do to get more organs?  Get people to lose weight:
Obese people are largely considered bad candidates for organ transplantation due to the strain the surgery and healing will put on their bodies.  At times, Obese donors are put on diet and behavior management programs and doctors chart their progress monthly to determine if their eligibility has changed.   Only 3% of those who try to lose the weight and become donors succeed.

Sachdeva offered the following recommendation for obese participants:

    “We need to target that 30 percent who are really motivated to lose weight. What can we do differently?  We could put them in a more rigorous weight loss program, have closer follow-up, offer motivational support groups or even in some participants – if their BMI permits – consider bariatric surgery.”
So lose weight (even undergo bariatric surgery) so that you can become an organ donor?

I don't have an issue with organ donation per se, but I do take issue with the increasing tendency to see our fellow humans, not as persons in their own right, but as harvestable biological material.

Do I think it is any coincidence that some lawmakers are suggesting commuting sentences for prisoners who consent to be live organ donors?  Or that the AMA wants to look at financial incentives for organ donation?  Or that it is being proposed that your organ donor sticker on your driver's license supersede any other advanced medical directive or instructions you may have in place?

Once we began looking at some human lives as harvestable biological material, namely human embryos and those in a persistive vegetative state, then we all start looking like meat for the harvest as well.

Watch out.  There are some people want you to lose weight not just so that you can be healthy, but so that your organs can be available for someone else as well.

Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly


  1. What's the point of my tax money going to stem cell research if all we have to do is use the inmates?

    That was total sarcasm.

  2. In a sense this is already happening - I was recently reading an article about how harvesting from donors is done. The "deceased" is held on life support until harvest. Doctors monitoring brain waves have seen things like reactions to pain.

  3. Another gruesome change coming soon to a drivers license near you: everybody who applies for or renews their drivers license will be an organ donor. You will have to opt-OUT, and the process to opt-OUT will not be easy or quick. The push is to make this mandatory nationwide ASAP.

    Presumed consent is already in place in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

    The moral problem is clear. Given the shortage of organs, the medical system will look at people in emergency rooms as livestock at the slaughter-house. The "reasoning" goes as follows: "Only" about 500,000 people would need to be "harvested" to bring the U.S. organ donation system into "balance." After those 500,000 were slaughtered, the numbers would fall as the backlog of recipients were cleared. After that, "only" about 30,000 people per year would be needed. Moooooooo......

  4. Wow. That's some wacked out thinking there, anonymous. The kind of thinking that's not grounded in, you know, FACTS. The U.S. currently adheres to an 'opt-in' system when it comes to organ donation. Organ donation is a noble act and is viewed as such by the Church.

  5. Anonymous @ 9:20 pm

    Organ donation is only a gift if the organ being transplanted doesn't cause death to the donor as does happen with heart transplants. The donor has to be alive (breathing etc) for the heart to be excised as the cells of the body decay immediately after death thus rendering the heart not to be in perfect condition to be transplanted.

  6. In New Jersey, you are required by law to opt-in or opt-out each time your register for your driver's license. If you opt-out you must be given literature to review that lets you know how selfish you are if you choose to opt-out. New Jersey also decided to add organ donation education to it's state core curriculum.

  7. Okay with brain death and donating organs??? Do listen to this. DO LISTEN


  8. In Larry Niven's future history, all opposition to the death penalty fell by the wayside, once they started using "harvesting organs" as an execution method. They even start imposing the death penalty for traffic violations.

    People really need to check to make sure that their ideas don't look like some science-fiction writer's dystopian future. Seriously, it should be a part of the vetting for any legislation or policy advocacy.

    PS. I'm also reminded of the guy in Xenosaga who was reanimated as a cyborg agent, the property of the state. "I registered as an organ donor without much thought..."


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