Approach to organ donation question once on permanent deferral?
August 27, 2012 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: how should one fill out the organ donation question on forms if it is already known that s/he would be permanently deferred from donation of any organs, blood, or other tissue?

Please take it for a fact that the person is NOT eligible for donation of organs, blood, or tissue for human recipients, but would be happy with body parts being studied for science.

Is it best to check no? Is it okay to check yes, with stipulations? Assume that family members are aware of both the permanent deferral situation and the willingness to donate to science/research.
posted by wiskunde to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
"Research only" maybe?
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:09 PM on August 27, 2012

I'd probably go ahead and check "no," assuming this is for a state-issued ID card. The "yes"/"no" on drivers' licenses is valuable in part because time is of the essence in transplants. For an organ to be viably transplanted, it needs to be harvested very soon after death. The family can still donate your friend's body to science, but the medical establishment won't waste time and money harvesting and testing organs for transplant.

If this is for something more elaborate than photo identification, I'd ask the organization to whom your friend will be submitting the form for guidance.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:10 PM on August 27, 2012 [8 favorites]

More information would be helpful here.

Unless there is some specific reason your friend's family or other close acquaintance would not be interviewed upon your friend's death, it's fine to just check "yes" and then realize that the interview is part of the organ donation process for transplantation and make sure their next of kin understands the issues and or their wishes.
posted by jessamyn at 4:14 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Can you specify what state/country the person lives in? He or she can pre-arrange "total body donation" (a.k.a. "whole body donation"), including registered consent forms by next of kin, with their state, a specific medical college, or other organizations, most of whom will be explicit about their "bequeathal" criteria and processes. In general, I would err on the side of checking "yes" -- possible donations are always tested extensively for eligibility/compatibility anyway.
posted by argonauta at 4:21 PM on August 27, 2012

If there is a legit reason- meaning a real reason as specified by the donation agencies- then your friend has an ethical obligation to check "no". Checking "yes" and hoping they will catch the problem at the time of interview/harvest will, at best, waste everyone's time, and at worst, subject some poor sick person to a diseased organ.
posted by gjc at 4:22 PM on August 27, 2012 [11 favorites]

Check with local universities/ med schools about registering for donation for research.
posted by goo at 4:50 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Probably best to check no and then make sure that the next of kin knows about the research donation wishes.
posted by quince at 5:49 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your friend should be aware that being an organ donor and donating your body for research/medical education are two very different things and the protocols and regulations for each are completely separate. Thus if a form asks whether your friend wants to be an organ donor, he or she should check "no", but if a form asks whether your friend wants to donate his or her body to research, he or she should check "yes".
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:48 PM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

It may be worth noting that the conditions that prevent someone from donating organs will probably also prevent them for donating their body for anatomical examination (that's the UK term, may be different where you are). It may be worth looking up the procedure where you are, particularly as, if eligible, a consent form or other letter of consent will probably need to be completed by the donor well in advance of the actual donation. If the prospective donor has a particular medical condition, there may be a research program that can / would like to accept specific organs for their research, but again, this would probably need to be sorted out in advance.

My grandma specified in her will that she would like to donate organs, or if that wasn't possible to donate her body to [med students], but it turned out that she wouldn't be eligible because she had Parkinson's, so instead she arranged to donate her brain, and now most of her has been tidily cremated but she is also a brain in a jar, as per her wishes.
posted by Lebannen at 4:51 AM on August 28, 2012

Your friend could always ask UNOS, the agency that coordinates organ donation nationwide (assuming they are in the US). Contact form here.
posted by TedW at 6:04 AM on August 28, 2012

I checked back with my friend and this is what she had to say:
Thank you for asking! Am definitely ineligible for any blood or marrow donation for legit medical reason and presume that organ donation is also right out. Would love to be able to, but don't want to make anyone more ill! Have emailed UNOS (thank you to the person who suggested!), but no response yet. Will check back. Have decided to check "No" for the time being, possibly pending response from UNOS. Family knows wishes and precluding condition and would explain situation to medical personnel. Also, will check possibility of anatomical donation, rules, and how to arrange that if possible. Thank you to all who answered!
posted by wiskunde at 8:01 AM on October 11, 2012

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