Posted By Dr Gifford Jones
Why would I rather deal with the Mafia than some religious people? Because I hate hypocrisy above all other things. I know the mob has a code it follows strictly, such as it is, and it's crystal clear to everyone what it's all about. But religious people talk constantly about brotherly love and yet condemn fellow humans to death. It's hypocrisy at its worst.
A report in the Medical Post says that Canadians are being forced to travel to China and India to purchase heart and kidney transplants. Their only alternative is death. How can you blame people for seeking what's been labeled "transplantation tourism", to buy an organ in a foreign land? We all share the desire to live at any cost. So put yourself in the place of those facing untimely death from organ failure. Consider the odds they face in this bountiful country.
It's unbelievable that in Canada there are only 12.8 organ donors per million of population. That is why every day two to three Canadians die from organ failure. In 1995 there were 2,500 people waiting for life-sustaining body parts. Today the number has increased to 4,277. So why wouldn't patients facing certain death without a transplant start to look at foreign lands?
But what awaits them in surgery in these countries? I wish I could give a first-hand account. But one patient described the scene to me. "It was small bare bones. It was in a row of buildings in a commercial area. Patients were standing around outside and there were overhanging wires. It was a poor area." And these patients are thousands of miles from family and friends realizing they may die from the transplant operation. Let's not forget the poor, naive and unfortunate person who provides the organ. It appears that some young donors in poverty-stricken countries have no idea of what the kidney does or where it's located in the body.
Dr. Francis Delmonico, professor of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, reports that 3,000 people in a Philippine slum area sold one of their kidneys. It had the dubious distinction of being called Kidneyville. Other reports claim that after losing an organ brokers either refused to pay the donor or gave them a small fraction of the money collected. It's a cruel world for these innocents while scoundrels take advantage of their unwitting donation. The grim, grisly fact is that Canadians should not have to go shopping for organs in foreign countries. Not when, day after day, religious people bury their useful organs in caskets that could be life-saving to another human. (It's also a useless waste of trees.) Moreover, the majority of religions claim to support organ donation.
So it's high time ministers of these religions stepped up to the plate and stopped the hypocrisy. Don't preach to me about brotherly love while desperate people search in vain for life-saving organs. But I'll make a bet today. Several years ago I pleaded with religious leaders of this country to preach a sermon supporting organ donation. I'm not a graduate of any theological college. But for those who are it shouldn't require much homework to deliver the message. Yet to my knowledge not a single sermon was delivered on this matter.
I'm sure there are those in congregations, similar to my religious patients, who exclaim, "I don't want to lose an organ because I believe it's important that my body remain whole." And yet some of these same people say they intend to be cremated. Religious preachers could surely, if they tried, reassure their flock that no one will be denied admittance to Nirvana if they're missing a leg or a kidney. Isn't it just the soul that supposedly goes to heaven?
It's time those in the pulpit rise to the occasion and deliver this Good Samaritan sermon. But hell will probably freeze over before that happens. They'll continue to preach, "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you." Then sit on their hands about this humanitarian matter. For shame, for shame, for shame.
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