Jack Uldrich
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Unlearning Small Changes

Posted in Books, Business, Culture, Education, Future, General, Health Care, Insurance, Philosophy, Psychology, Quiz, Stories, Unlearn Strategy

Read the following sentence: A woman without her man is nothing. My guess is that if you're a woman it pissed you off because you read it in the following way: "A woman, without her man, is nothing". If, however, you made just a small change in punctuation it could be read this way: "A woman: without her, man is nothing."

My point is this: Sometimes a small change can have a huge impact. In the above case, the meaning was fundamentally altered.

Now consider the issue of organ donations. It is estimated that in America over 90,000 people are currently on waiting lists. Many of those individuals will, unfortunately, die on a waiting list due to a shortage of available organ donors.

It need not be this way. In Germany, only 12% of the population has agreed to donate an organ (in the event they die unexpectedly). In Austria, the percentage is a staggering 99%. The difference? In Germany, people must explicitly give their consent to donate an organ by opting in on a state-provided form. In Austria, people must explicitly opt out. In other words, in Austria, people are assumed to consent to organ donation but are free to opt out if they are uncomfortable with the idea.

In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter what wording the state puts on a form. If people want to donate an organ they are free to do so under either policy. Austria, though, has learned that a small change in language can lead to a huge change — one which saves many lives.

If other states and countries want to do the same maybe they should start by unlearning their "opt in" clauses.

One thought on “Unlearning Small Changes”

  1. Mark says:

    Do the needs of the many trump the rights of the individual? A whole body donation to an organ procurement organization or tissue bank can be resold for up to $2 million to transplant hospitals, big pharma and research centers.
    And what about the donor’s family? Forced into bankruptcy by end of life medical expenses, losing their home and pulling their children out of college or special needs school, while the donor industry rakes in the millions of dollars in revenue from that “free” resource.
    The European model works great, as long as you ignore the fact that they have universal healthcare and a single payer system. The state owns your body when you die because it paid for your healthcare and welfare while you were alive.
    But in the United States, the model is that government grants an exclusive franchise to the organ harvesting industry and forbids the sale or exchange of organs, tissue and body parts by their owners. By government fiat, your most valuable resource is declared off limits to your estate and heirs.
    Few Americans know that the organ harvesting industry in the United States is a $20 Billion a year business. Built entirely on a foundation of free organs, tissue and body parts. If we were discussing copper and Bolivia, the chattering class would understand the implications immediately.
    At DoNotTransplant.com we believe that every American should control their end of life decisions. You don’t have to wait for Washington to act. There are several excellent resources available to you today.
    For an Advance Healthcare Directive appropriate to your state of residence, we recommend Caring Connections.
    Choose now if you want to participate in the organ harvesting process. Don’t let your family to be left wondering what your intentions might be. Save them the pain and grief of organ harvesting consent by making your intentions crystal clear today.
    Imagine their feelings of betrayal as you lie in a coma and they are asked if the organ harvesting process can start when you are declared brain dead or your heart stops.
    If you’ve decided you want to be an organ donor, you can do that at Donate Life America.
    If you have questions about organ donation or live in one of the 37 states or the District of Columbia that has adopted the 2006 Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, visit http://www.DoNotTransplant.com to learn more about your rights and options under the law.
    In a state that has adopted the 2006 Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, leaving your donor preferences blank on your driver’s license means the decision to harvest your organs will be put on your family. This includes hooking you up to life support systems even if you have an Advanced Healthcare Directive that says otherwise. They can keep your body alive until they can convince your family to grant consent.
    The current system is flawed and protects the interests of big business, not the individual liberties of Americans.

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