Not kidding about kidneys

Reader-types, it is now time to listen to me push politics. Be forewarned! (Or just skip this one if you are politics averse.)

I saw this post at Alicia's blog, and wanted to add: perhaps you too should consider checking the little "please give my organs to other people once I am no longer using them" box on your license. And if you're feeling especially giving, you can give a some while alive (one kidney and a big chunk of your liver, and I think that's it).

Yes, it's a fraught subject (especially if it's a kidney), and clearly it is understandable if you have thought about it and don't want to donate, but the huge jump between the number of people who donate in countries with an opt-in system (like the US of A) and those with an opt-out (like Amsterdam or Spain) speaks to a general disinclination to check boxes, not to give organs.


  1. If I die, why shouldn't everyone else?

    On the back of my driver's license, there are special instructions that other people's organs are to be harvested and buried with me, in case I need extras in the afterlife.

  2. King Tut, I didn't know you were an anonymous commenter! You should also ask to be buried with snacks and some servants, just in case.

  3. Laura, thank you again for doing this. If it weren't for people willing to donate their organs, people like my friend wouldn't be here today.

  4. And people like me would be looking forward to nothing but dialysis. But hey, the kidney people are lucky. It's the only organ that we have a machine to replace, even if it's a sucky proposition. Plus, live donors are an option if you know one of those saintly people who might do that for you.

    Thanks, Laura.

  5. I had a kidney transplant this June from an unknown deceased donor. It is nice there are people who care enough to recycle more than just old Pepsi cans.

  6. Hi, Michael!

    I tried to click through but no email on your profile. Would you shoot me one? I have questions.

  7. I had a friend die while waiting for a double lung and heart transplant. I really really wish we were an opt-out system for organ donation (and other things too). Even as a child i wanted to be an organ donor.

  8. I love the whole "just wait until Christ comes home and sees that you've given away half your organs! He's gonna be maaaad!" argument.

    They have Become an Organ Donor fairs on my campus. Is that not a common thing?

  9. Laurel- Hope you see this. I am in the process of changing computers. My current one has an identity problem and won't let me send you an email. I hope to contact you sometime this weekend. Michael Shonk

  10. Yes, I'm one of those who like to point out other people's mistakes.
    Even you slipped up a little this time: Amsterdam is not a country ;)

    Greetings from Austria, where they will also rip your organs out if you don't like box-checking.

  11. Wolf, you know what's funny? Eric and I had the following conversation the day this went up:

    Me: Oh, eff, Amsterdam is a city, not a country. Should I change it?
    Eric: Yea, someone is going to call you out on it.

    ...And then I forgot to change it, and I got called out on it. Laziness reigns supreme!

  12. Now I feel oblieged to point out that I only called you on it to procrastinate.

    In other words: Out of laziness.

    I'm beginning to see a pattern there...
    Do you think it's enough for a full-blown conspiracy theory if it fixes itself out of laziness?