Vote for Laura Martens to win the Young Writers Award

geplaatst op: 03-04-2013
Vorige week werd bekend dat Laura Martens uit tto 5 genomineerd is voor een prestigieuze prijs van de BBC en ESU voor haar essay over orgaandonatie. Haar inzending zal door een jury van Britse journalisten en Nederlandse kenners van de Engelse taal beoordeeld worden.

Wij kunnen ook stemmen op Laura voor The Young Writers Audience Award Winner.

Lees haar geweldige tekst en breng je stem vóór 16 april uit via onderstaande link.

You've got to be kidneying me

Imagine listening to the radio, hearing the news of a car crash - two dead, one critically injured. You find yourself ill-at-ease. Maybe now that a new heart is available, your death could be postponed. You are one of the 56,000 European patients waiting for an organ at the beginning of this year. Morosely, approximately 12 of you will not make it till the end of this day, every day. There are simply not enough donors. To increase the number of donors and therefore save the lives of many, I exercise my choice for an opt-out system rather than an opt-in one.

Becoming a postmortem donor is not something you really give a thought to unless you have to choose. This is exactly why our current opt-in system does not meet its demands. People find that it is not worth their time to fill in an (online) form, and forget about organ donation quickly. Even campaigns such as the European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation don’t get enough people to donate. With an opt-out system, people are forced to think about the future of their own organs when they decease.

Many people think they aren’t allowed to donate, or find it much too tiring to find out if they may. For example religionists. Should one violate the bodily integrity for the cause of brotherly love? It turns out, most religions are positive towards organ donation. Another example are people who take medication. They often think that their organs would be of no use, but this isn’t true. A doctor might conclude that a non affected organ can still be transplanted. Besides, medical expertise is gained by the day. What could not be of use today, might be tomorrow. Elderly people seldom donate because they think their organs or tissues are too old. Here’s a question to you all: did you know your corneas can be transplanted up until your 86th birthday?

If more people would donate, it would be a more normal thing to do. When a person deceases, their loved ones are left with intense emotion. For them, the idea of taking that body apart for donation seems odd. Imagine that donating was quite a common thing. Would they still experience it the same way? Or would they look at it differently, thinking it over positively?

Belgium, Spain and Austria are adequate examples of countries with an opt-out system. According to Maastricht University, those countries have much more donors per million inhabitants, and their number of effective donors is thus higher. Correspondingly, their lack of organs is less compared to countries with an opt-in system. Organ shortage is not only a problem in Europe, but is a problem worldwide. Mainly in Africa many who undergo a simple appendicitis procedure wake up with a bigger scar on their abdomen and one less kidney. These kidneys are then sold off three more times before saving the life of a European. Organ theft can be abated drastically if we have enough organs to meet the demands ourselves. If more European countries would support an opt-out system, organ theft would no longer hold ground.

The current opt-in system is up for a change. Despite campaigning, it doesn’t meet its demands, it’s thereby supporting organ theft and it doesn’t get people to think about being a donor. An opt-out system would compel people to consider donation, which increases the number of effective donors drastically. When that number increases, organ theft will no longer gain the day.

An opt-in system? You’ve got to be kidding me.