Posted by Bob Aronson
I am a heart transplant recipient and a registered organ donor. Today my new heart aches for the over 113,000 people on the national transplant list and their families because an irresponsible writer just told them their lives are unimportant and that they should go home and die. I know what it’s like to be on that list. I know firsthand the terror associated with the fact that because less than half of all Americans are organ donors some patients will die waiting. In 2010 over 6,000 died and now the shortage of donor organs is even greater with the likelihood that the fatality list will go even higher. With the publication of a “don’t become an organ donor” column in the Wall Street Journal, the author and the paper have displayed a heartlessness I thought could not exist. I would rather not believe that anyone would seek financial reward at the cost of human life but that’s what author Dick Terisi and Wall Street Journal owner and publisher Rupert Murdoch have done. It is what it is – Journalistic Terrorism.
The irresponsibility of Terisi and Murdoch is going to cause a lot of people to die. The story in question claims that physicians allow and even facilitate the death of patients in order to retrieve their organs for transplantation. Not only is that charge wrong, it is reckless and life threatening. The teams of people in hospitals that care for patients, however ill, are not connected nor do they report to the very specialized transplant teams in the same organization. And – not all hospitals even have transplant capabilities. There are 5, 754 accredited hospitals in the United States but only 242 of them are transplant centers. Terisi makes it sound as though all hospitals are transplant centers with surgeons hovering over patients, scalpel in hand ready to retrieve organs. That picture is not only distorted it is the product of the overactive imagination found in most fiction writers. The problem is Terisi passes himself off as a knowledgeable reporter of actual events. Let me be very blunt. He knows better but lying about the process sells more books and that’s his bottom line.
His major point is that Physicians are cavalier in their approach to proclaiming brain death so that they can hurry the process of recovering organs for transplant. Fact: the procedure for determining death prior to recovery of organs is rigorous, thorough and as exact as medical science can make it. My previous blog on the subject “Death by Journalism” explains the process for declaring brain death in great detail. This story is a dramatic example of what I call “Junk” science. He uses anecdotal evidence and off the cuff remarks of a single physician to make his point and calls it evidence.
Some readers are going to believe this nonsense and refuse to become organ donors. Others, who are donors, may decide to reverse their decision. In either case people will die as a result because the critical shortage of organs for transplant will become even more critical. Terisi and Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal must be held accountable for this reckless endangerment of human life. This time there is a cost for having a “Free” press and the cost will likely be the deaths of a good many people…just so an author can sell some books and a publisher can sell a few more newspapers. Shame on them!
If you want the facts about organ donation/transplantation and associated issues here are some links.
* Fact sheet. Myths about organ donation (this link directly addresses the subject of care of dying patients) http://tinyurl.com/7xngpet
* 25 facts about donation/transplantation National Kidney Foundation http://tinyurl.com/8o6uq2
* How the transplant system workshttp://tinyurl.com/7rccn3u
* UNOS facts about Transplantation in the U.S. http://tinyurl.com/7bkmaft
* Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO) General information http://www.trioweb.org/
You can also read more about a wide variety of donation/transplantation issues on my blog Bob’s Newheart on WordPress www.bobsnewheart.wordpress.com
Bottom line. We can’t stop people like Terisi and Murdoch from publishing lies and distortions but we can mitigate their effect by speaking up and letting the truth be known that organ donation threatens no one and saves thousands of lives.
Every organ donor can either save or enhance the lives of up to 60 people. That’s a fact! Tell the story and tell it often. I’m here to write this piece because of an unselfish organ donor. I will not let his action or his character be defiled because of the greed of a writer and publisher – I hope you will join me in honoring all donors and their families by spreading the word that organ donation saves lives.
Lodge your protest at Wall Street Journal Contact:
Outside the U.S.:1-609-514-0870
Monday – Friday: 7am to 10pm ET
Saturday: 8am to 3pm ET
You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at email@example.com. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.
Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.
Posted on March 15, 2012, in Journalism and tagged Bob's Newheart, death., dick Terisi, donation, dying, hospitals, journalism, journalistic terrorism, list, Murdoch, organ donation, organs, reckless, Rupert Murdoch, surgeons, terrorism, transplantation, transplants, TRIO, UNOS, Wall Street Journal, Wordpress, WSJ. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.