Editorial: More pressure needed to convince N.J. residents to donate organs
For most, the decision to take their organs to the grave with them is one of neglect. Or ignorance. Or misplaced beliefs.
Meanwhile, thousands die on transplant waiting lists every year, while useful kidneys, livers and hearts are buried in cemeteries. Few places are worse than New Jersey, where two out of three drivers won't register as donors, placing us a shameful No. 43 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Why are so many lifesaving organs wasted? Often, it's laziness. Drivers fail to check the organ donor box when they register for a driver's license. In other cases, it's misinformation. Incredibly, half the population still believes doctors won't try as hard to save the life of an organ donor, whose death could save others. That's nonsense.
Religious objections, at least, suggest thoughtful consideration. But religious bans on organ donation, in nearly all cases, are myths.
Obviously, persuasion is needed.
NJ Sharing Network, which promotes organ donation, has proposed a "Golden Rule Act," allowing insurers to deny transplant coverage for patients who aren't registered donors.
That's a good start.
Then there's the Israel plan, where registered donors get priority for organs over nondonors. That's serious arm-twisting. Even stronger would be an opt-out law, which assumes everyone is a donor unless he declares himself not one.
Lots of attention is paid to seemingly legitimate reasons not to donate organs. Tragically, too little is given the 5,000 New Jersey patients on transplant waiting lists right now, and the many who will die waiting.