Sunday 14 November 2010

Stay healthy for the scrapyard.

Once again, the antismoker attacks continue even after the smoker has died. Again, there is outcry that smokers are donating organs that might not be perfect, but are sufficiently better than the ones held by nonsmokers that doctors consider surgery and all those anti-rejection drugs worthwhile.

This is why I no longer have a donor card. I expect to face smokophobic abuse right up to the day I die. I will not give them an excuse to carry on insulting me afterwards.

Desperate transplant patients are being given the lungs of chain smokers because the NHS is so short of organ donations.
Surgeons are also being forced to use diseased body parts from cancer sufferers, drug addicts and the very elderly.

Then refuse to accept donations from smokers, drug addicts, cancer sufferers and the elderly. Why not? Oh, right, it's because those donated organs are better than the ones you have. You'd be dead without them and then how could you whine and complain? Well you will not use my own lungs to berate me. You will not use my own heart to pump your bile around. You will not use my liver to bleat about my drinking habits. You will not use my corneas to spy on smokers. I will be cremated intact, just to be sure you don't get desperate enough to dig me up for spares.

Soon, there will be the inevitable 'Oh, but if you don't donate, someone will die who might have lived. You're just selfish'. If you're thinking that way, read that last paragraph again. Imagine being insulted, denormalised, treated like filth every day. Now imagine someone else doing that to you using your lungs and your eyes and your heart. Imagine that after you die, those saved by your organ donations spend the rest of their time telling the world that you, the donor, were scum. Still want to donate?

I do not. I also don't want a donation. I don't want to be kept alive on immunosuppressant drugs, can't smoke, can't drink, wondering when that organ will be rejected or fail. If I'm ever told I have weeks to live I will stock up on tobacco and whisky and pass out of this life without even realising. I'll be so pickled it will be impossible to give an exact time of death. Actually, cremation could be risky. Anyone present had better bring welding goggles and sun cream.

So don't tell me I'd accept an organ if I needed one. I will not. I'll keep mine and you keep yours.

Professor James Neuberger, associate medical director of the NHS Blood and Transplant, the Government agency responsible for organ donations said: 'In an ideal world you would rather have lungs from 20-year-old healthy people who have never smoked, but that isn't a luxury we have.

Yet. Let the Greens get their way and there'll be plenty available from the culls.

Healthy 20-year-olds don't tend to die conveniently in hospital where their organs can be harvested at once. The sick and the elderly do, which is why their organs are used. 'Healthy donor' is an oxymoron because to be a donor, you have to be dead and that situation cannot fall under even the broadest definition of 'healthy'.

Last week doctors warned that the quality of organs was decreasing because growing numbers of donors are either obese or very elderly

The number of donors over 70 has also quadrupled in the last decade.

Those who are obese are more likely to have coronary heart disease, so their hearts are damaged, as well as fatty livers and pancreases which will not function as well

All organs decline with age so they will less useful for the donor.

Just let that last line sink in. 'Less useful' (they mean recipient, not donor, obviously). Then check the first line again. 'Quality of organs'. These doctors are telling us off because we aren't keeping ourselves fit and healthy for the day they break us up for spares.

Stop smoking, stop drinking, lose weight, exercise, because otherwise those cultivated organs can't be harvested. Never mind how you want to live your life. That's not up to you. Your job is to grow healthy organs for transplant. You're a farm animal. Don't live too long - old organs don't transplant so well. Don't get fat - you'll spoil those spare parts.

Who is getting these organs? How can a nonsmoker ever need a lung transplant, or a non-drinker need a liver transplant? Surely those are the only causes of lung and liver disease these days? What's that? They aren't? Certain pressure groups would disagree with you there, you know.

Look, if you need a transplant and are willing to accept one, that's up to you. If you are going to sneer at the donor, don't expect them to donate. Think of it this way:- Two street beggars ask you for money. One is polite, the other hurls abuse and threats at you. Which one's hat is your change going to land in?

...last year a young woman died just five months after being given the lungs of a 30-a-day smoker.
Lyndsey Scott, 28, a cystic fibrosis sufferer, developed severe pneumonia shortly after the transplant.
She was never told the organs would be coming from a smoker and her family claimed that she would never had gone ahead with the operation if she had known.

She did not die of emphysema, cancer, bronchitis or any other 'smoking related' disease. She died of pneumonia.

How? Well, here's a clue. To prevent rejection, your immune system has to be suppressed with drugs for the rest of your life. That leaves you open to all sorts of infections. She was not killed by the smokers' lungs but by a secondary infection following surgery. The smoking donor also didn't die of a smoking related disease because if they had, those lungs would have been unfit for transplant. Yet she would have rejected the lungs, her family say, simply because someone chose to smoke with them. They came from a pariah.

My body parts are not a commodity. They are not the property of 'society'. They are mine and I will use them as I see fit. I am not here as a spare part bank for you. I do not have a responsibility to look after my organs so that you can have them later.

Those who donate theirs, do so out of generosity and do not expect to have their memories defiled as a result of offering to save a stranger's life. As a smoker, I know exactly what to expect if I were to donate my still-functioning organs after my death. Posthumous abuse.

Knowing that, why would I donate?


sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

Why would any surgeon worth his salt give a diseased organ to a patient? I'm sure he would be struck off. Something doesn't add up...I'd love to be able to pin point the source of the lies.

Chris said...

Once upon a time we had something called 'gratitude'. It's long since been replaced by entitlement and " rights, innit."

Add to that the sheer arrogance of the medical profession, and I can totally see where you're coming from Leggy.

(carries a donor card, but tempted not to now.)

Anonymous said...

Don't give diseased blood either.

timbone said...

I once overheard a conversation between two guys in a pub. One of the guys was very racist. The other guy asked him, "if you needed a heart transplant, would you have a heart from an Asian"
"no" he replied
Maybe us smokers are beginning to know what full blown predjudice feels like

Anonymous said...

I used to loathe giving blood. Always made me feel queasy and sick and, embarrasingly, I passed out once in the middle of the procedure, which made me feel very unheroic and wimpish. So it's been a great relief to feel justified in no longer donating in case I "contaminate" someone more virtuous than me with my nicotine-saturated body fluids!

View from the Solent said...

So there you have it. Not quite there yet, but very close. You, and your possessions and income belong to the state. You are not a person, merely a spare parts container.

Leg-iron said...

£60aweeketc - I doubt they would have given lungs that look like the ones on the packets to anyone.

Then again, those were coal miner's lungs and we don't have many of those any more.

None of these articles make the connection. If smokers, drinkers etc are so riddled with disease, how can their organs be considered for use? Surgeons are not going to risk their careers by giving transplant patients an organ that's worse than the one they had before.

All these diseases that 'all smokers get' are in fact rare. Most smokers will finish their days with lots of useful spare parts.

If they donate them, they will continue to be abused after their death.

I don't see that as an incentive.

Leg-iron said...

Chris - sadly, that's true. Even if they were sinking in quicksand, there are many who would refuse an outstretched hand if it had nicotine stains on the fingers.

Or, they would let the smoker pull them out and then sue for third hand smoke exposure.

Better to let them sink.

Leg-iron said...

Anon - despite what I work with (or maybe because of it) I don't have any diseases. My line of work makes me obsessive about cleanliness.

Leg-iron said...

Timbone - one day that racist might die for lack of a white heart. Although how he'd know is a mystery because we're all the same inside.

As with those who would refuse any part of a smoker, drinker, elderly or overweight, I wouldn't shed a tear.

If their prejudices kill them, the only sensible reaction would be to point and laugh.

Leg-iron said...

Anon2 - I used to give blood. Back then I had an intense job and high blood pressure. I was one of the few who actually felt better after having some drained out.

Not that I was above faking wooziness to keep a pretty nurse's attention...

Now I have low blood pressure so I'd probably pass out, unless there was a Daily Mail handy. So I don't do it any more. Besides, it's mostly nicotine in alcohol these days. A nonsmoker/nondrinker getting a pint of that stuff would probably sue.

Well, once he'd sobered up.

Leg-iron said...

View from the Solent - that's been the attitude of medics for a long time now. We have to live as directed so that our parts are in good order.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

I've got the following tattooed on my chest - it's been there for some years now:



I only want to die once (never remove organs carries the implication that they can't put other organs in, either. After all - they'd need an appropriately shaped space to put them into).

My brother (a doctor) tells me they'll probably ignore the 'never resuscitate' bit. Fine ... they will at least understand my lack of gratitude and outright hostility.

Anonymous said...

this is of the topic, but I hope that you do not mind me posting it -

""There are two overriding principles involved [as regards tobacco control], and if we understand these principles, Tobacco Control collapses.

Principle one is that people who enjoy tobacco can do so, if they so wish. All the legal arguments about, “I did not know how harmful smoking was and the tobacco companies knew about the harm and did not tell me” are history. It is hardly possible for anyone to claim that they did not know about tobacco harm (if it is true). People can decide for themselves whether to smoke or not.

Principle two is that second hand smoke is harmless (in normal circumstances). But this idea is not just a theoretical idea – it is a matter of fact. I would defy any ASH person to find any harm either to those people with whom I have associated, over the years, as a result of the fact that I have smoked in their presence, or, indeed (and this is more pertinent), any harm to my children, in whose presence I have smoked day after day for the last forty years.

Thus we see that Tobacco Control is all bluster. It really is the most incomprehensible idea that the WHO’s Convention on Tobacco Control (or whatever it is called) did not call for the extermination of the tobacco plant. All their submissions regarding the harm of tobacco can only lead to that conclusion.

There is a massive organisation which is dedicated to eradicating the harm of tobacco, but not one of them advocates the extermination of the tobacco plant. There have been masses of studies about tobacco harm, but I have yet to see ONE which recommends the extermination of the tobacco plant.

This is not true of the poppy plant.

The Government has a serious problem. Tobacco Control has such a stranglehold on the Department of Health, and is so powerful, that the Government cannot do anything about it. Pity the poor politicians who have to make decisions about matters that they know little about when confronted with the demands of Tobacco Control.

And yet, there is an answer. And it is very simple.

The answer is to move Tobacco Control out of the Health Dept. As I understand it, that is what the Irish Government have decided to do (more or less). When one thinks about it, the proper place for Tobacco Control is in the Health and Safety Dept, but there are also Business repercussion.

Moving Tobacco Control out of the Health Dept will, in one stroke, do away with the stranglehold that Tobacco Control has on the Health Dept, and cut millions and millions of pounds of costs. Of course, it would be critically important to do away with all the non-jobs involved. Ash and co can get funds from wherever they want, but not from the public purse, and that includes CRUK and BHF.

It is simple.""

I just think that it is important to understand.

Leg-iron said...

Junican - true, but the eradication of the poppy isn't on the agenda. Only the eradication of non-approved sources of opium (and therefore morphine).

We could solve the Afghan poppy problem at a stroke by offering to buy their product for medical use, but that would cut the prices for countries that are producing it for medical use already.

So it is with tobacco. If the plant is eradicated, where would the patch-and-gum brigade get their nicotine?

Nicotinamide (niacin, vitamin B3) would also become distressingly expensive.

As would the cigars smoked by those who tell us tobacco is evil...

Anonymous said...

You know, there's a nice and easy way of massively increasing the amount of nice, healthy organs for donation AND improving the net intelligence of the human race (or at least that portion which dwells in Britain) into the bargain. All it takes is a couple of minor changes in law.

Firstly, add a stipulation to all motor vehicle driving licences that unless the hold explicitly stipulates that their organs may NOT be harvested post-mortem and carries their driving licence on them when driving to prove this, then the organs of dead drivers may be harvested.

Secondly, remove the stipulation that seat belts and motorcycle helmets must be worn.

These devices protect against severe head trauma in road accidents. Smart people will carry on using them, even if a car has airbags, etc. Idiots will stop doing so, and a proportion of these idiots will die on the roads, and in doing so reduce the evolutionary fitness of idiots whilst at the same time increasing the pool of organs for donation. This is a win-win situation, just as stopping all this anti-smoking rubbish would also be a win-win for everyone.

After all, why should a non-smoker such as myself seek to curtail Leg-Iron's smoking? From my point of view he's a most generous and lovely fellow who, through his sheer selfless love of humanity chooses to pay iniquitous tobacco taxes and heinous alcohol taxes whilst he labours away, only to snuff it from something or other at about age sixty-odd. Applaud the man and those like him, for he's paying for the old age pensions of us non-smoking types!

Dr Evil said...

Most young and healthy donors were motorcyclists. Compulsory helpmet use and car seat belts reduced the number of donors considerably.

Anonymous said...

Ther is in Europe (excepting Poland - lots of deaths but not many transplants - both victims and doctors too pissed) an almost perfect correlation between road deaths and organ transplants. We have the safest roads in the world. I looked this up when I heard claim that Spain had a high number of transplants because of opting out and remembered that Spain's roads are killing fields.
I ripped up my card about two years ago when I heard a doctor suggesting that smokers shouldn't receive organs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.36, I doubt whether many of us here pay much in the way of tobacco tax and many us will soon be making our own wine.

Anonymous said...

As a recipient of a donor organ, can I just quickly say you won't get any ingratitude from me!

But what I really wanted to pick up on was this "I also don't want a donation. I don't want to be kept alive on immunosuppressant drugs, can't smoke, can't drink, wondering when that organ will be rejected or fail."

Not sure which transplant recipients you've met, but that's a pretty jaundiced view of post-transplant life! My first kidney transplant lasted 14 years and at no point was I told not to drink. Indeed, I was encouraged to have the odd pint as a good way of getting my fluid intake up. Yep, there's the don't smoke line, but no more than you get from doctors generally.

As for the immunosuppressants, provided you get off the steroids (which I did in 6 months), they're not that bad. It's not as if you're going down with a cold every 5 minutes. Indeed, the biggest problem with them is that if the doctors get the dose wrong, they can damage the transplant - which is what did fot mine after 14 years.

But for 14 years, I led an essentially normal life. Drank and ate what I liked. Went and did what I wanted. Biggest hassle was having to go for a blood test every 4 months. That was it.

I'm not saying it's always such a bed of roses. Indeed, my second transplant lasted only 18 months, and it was a fight from day one to keep it going that long. But it's worth the gamble because if it comes off, you do effectively get a normal life back.

George Speller said...

"My body parts are not a commodity. They are not the property of 'society'."

I used to carry a card, but I stopped when they started to suggest an "opt-out" scheme - like they owned my bits and pieces.

The answer is now "no".

Stewart Cowan said...

"Desperate transplant patients are being given the lungs of chain smokers because the NHS is so short of organ donations."

As you hinted at Leggy, they can't be transplanting the black, sticky lungs we see on the back of ciggie packets - they'd take those home and re-surface their drive.

Stewart Cowan said...

P.S. You say you have high BP, LI. Maybe you should look at this situation differently and relax.

Forgive and forget. You won't need those bits and bobs after you've gone. If you're like me, you don't need them all now!

That might sound hard - like it's a paradigm shift too far - but think of it this way: with your Grade "B" organs available for transplant, you will still have the opportunity to annoy and irritate people after your demise. That sounds great, doesn't it?

I'm off to get a donor card first thing in the morning...

P.P.S. To be deadly serious now - we should be more concerned about the destination of our souls than our organs! The absence of body parts won't stop the devil from torturing us in the most evil and grotesque ways (un)imaginable.

Leg-iron said...

Stewart - what is the Christian view on this? Seriously.

I mean, let's take the example that I'm dead and several of my body parts are in other people. So technically, I am not completely dead yet.

Would I have to wait at the Pearly Gates until my kidneys arrived, for example? What if the recipient was a Satanist? Are they then tainted kidneys?

This isn't flippant, it's a serious question. If you donated parts to a modern-day Hitler, even if you didn't know, would it count against you?

Donation, for the religious, is a complex question. You're not just helping others. You might risk damning yourself.

Stewart Cowan said...

Hi LI,

I am not at all worried what happens to my innards if I am to die before the Lord returns.

Technically, we will be dead because our soul will no longer be inhabiting our bodies, incl. those parts transplanted into the ungrateful living!

It is about the heart, I think, and not the fleshy one that might end up beating in someone else's chest.

If you look at scripture, you see that attitude is important. Even one of the genuine criminals who was crucified with Christ had a change of attitude and was told, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

It is unwise to leave it so late, though! Instructions for people who plan sensibly are given in Matthew ch. 25: e.g. "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in."

And Matthew 19 is about forsaking everything and following Him.

It's saving faith that matters.

I don't actually have a donor card, mainly because after years of heavy drinking up to 1998 I don't want to give someone a worse part than they had taken out.

This probably sums up the situation...

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Luke 3:16)

Had Hitler's organs been available for transplant (had it been possible then), I don't think the recipients' souls would have been endangered as a direct result, but I suspect I wouldn't knowingly have taken them myself.

The Saviour also said, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60)

The first "dead" meaning spiritually dead. I can't see a transplanted organ affecting either the soul of the recipient or the eternal destination of the donor.

If the donor's already in hell and his kidneys save a child's life, I think he'll still be there and likewise, someone won't be expelled from Heaven if his liver ends up inside a murderer.

That's what I believe.

I hope that helps.


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