The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland on July 12, 2007 · Page A13
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland · Page A13

Publication:
Location:
Baltimore, Maryland
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Page:
Page A13
Start Free Trial
Cancel

THESUN THURSDAY 07.12.2007 13A Organ donors should be put at front of line for transplants BY DAVID J. UNDIS Are you a registered organ donor? If so, you should get a break. But instead you're getting the shaft. Now registered organ donors around the United States are uniting to get fair treatment. If you've agreed to donate your organs when you die, your generosity can save lives. Last year in the United States, about 22,000 people received organs transplanted from deceased donors. But registered organ donors who need transplants are treated no better than people who have declined to donate their organs when they die. As a result, every year, thousands of registered or gan donors die waiting for transplants when the organs that could have saved their lives are given to nondonors. LifeSharers is an organization that seeks to rectify the situation by giving preference to organ donors. Not only would this make the system fairer, but the effect of moving donors to the front of the line would be to increase the number of donated organs available for everyone. Keep in mind that the large and growing shortage of organs in the United States is really a shortage of donors. About 8,000 Americans die every year because there aren't enough organs for everyone who needs one. But every year, Americans bury or cremate countless transplantable organs. Tremendous efforts have been made to persuade Americans to stop throwing away organs that could save their neighbors' lives. Charitable organizations and the federal government have spent hundreds of millions of dollars educating everyone on the need for more organ donors. State governments have made signing up to become an organ donor as easy as checking a box on a driver's license. Newspapers and television stations have run countless stories about the organ shortage, and radio stations have broadcast countless public service announcements. These efforts have not stopped the organ shortage from getting bigger and bigger. It's time to try something new. Let's move registered organ donors to the front of the transplant waiting list, and let's move people who won't donate to the back. If the United Network for Organ Sharing, which operates the national organ allocation system, adopted this policy, it would save thousands of lives every year because just about everybody would sign up to be a donor. Very few people would choose to put themselves at the back of the waiting list. After all, there are already more than 96,000 people on the list, and more than half of them will die before they get a transplant. What about people who can't donate their organs? Well, all Americans can offer to donate their organs when they die no matter what their health status is. Nobody knows today whose organs will be transplantable to morrow. Surgeons transplant many organs that they would have rejected just a few years ago. But shouldn't organs be given first to the people who need them the most? Not if these people aren't willing to donate their own organs. If people are unwilling to save their neighbors' lives, should we really elevate their needs above everyone else's? Besides, moving nondonors to the back of the waiting list could increase the supply of organs so much that even nondonors would get organs. LifeSharers members agree to donate their organs when they die. They also agree to offer them first to other members, if any member needs them, before offering them to others. This is done through directed donation, which is legal under federal law and in all 50 states. There is no age limit, and parents can enroll their minor children. LifeSharers has more than 9,200 members and has doubled its membership in the last year. Even people already registered as organ donors have reason to join LifeSharers. Members increase their chances of getting a transplant if they ever need one. They also help make organ allocation fairer. Perhaps most important, by offering their organs first to other organ donors, they give everyone a good reason to stop throwing away organs that could save their neighbors' lives. David J. Undis is executive director of LifeSharers. His e-mail is daveundislifesharers.org. Terror plot violated profession, religion BY JAVEED AKHTER CHICAGO The enormity of what happened in London and Glasgow, Scotland, dawned upon me slowly. First there were the two high-end cars filled with explosive materials, parked in the middle of London, that mercifully did not explode. Next, the bizarre report of two people in a burning SUV trying to crash into the main terminal of the Glasgow airport, filled with travelers. Again, fortunately, no one, except the driver, was hurt. Next came the utterly devastating news that one of the people in the SUV was a doctor and both were Muslims. The passenger, Bilal Abdulla, was born in Britain but went to medical school in Iraq. Five other doctors or medical students and one spouse of a physician are being held. How could those trained in the healing arts plan and carry out such an atrocity? Physicians see illness and pain often and witness the anguish of families at the finality of death. They are programmed to save lives. They take an oath to do so. Similarly, a correct understanding of Islam should have been a deterrent. Even those who have a cursory knowledge of Islam would have heard the verse, "If you save one life, it is as if you have saved all mankind." This is a universal value shared by all faiths and traditions. Dr. Abdulla had lived in the violence-filled crucible of Baghdad and may have been filled with hate toward Britain because of the Iraq war. News reports also mention that he may have been influenced by the rhetoric of a radical cleric in Iraq. This cleric would heap praise on suicide bombers and preach that this is a justifiable form of defense. Such clerics pick and choose verses from the Quran to support their rhetoric. Most Islamic scholars have called this a lethal misinterpretation of the verses. Nevertheless, this tiny but loud fraction of clerics appears to be most influential among young Muslims. But killing innocent civilians is never warranted. It is tempting to disown them, and others who may yet be indicted in the plot, by proclaiming they are not real Muslims. But that would be a cop-out; they read the same scripture and listen to the same prophetic traditions as I and all Muslims do. But they appear to have unpacked a radically different meaning from them. Suicide bombing has gained a cult status among some groups. The Tamil Tigers, a Hindu faction fighting the Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka, have a hero status among some Tamils. This is similar to the status of suicide bombers among some Muslims in Palestine and now in Iraq. Those who practice or sanction sui cide bombing consider it a form of martyrdom. But suicide by any name is still suicide and is explicitly prohibited in Islam. Injunctions of the Quran and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad prohibit it in unequivocal terms. Similarly, killing of innocents is expressly prohibited. It is not collateral damage but callous murder. The medical and educational background of these individuals in the London and Glasgow incidents appears to be irrelevant to their actions. And there is really nothing unique about Muslims or Middle Easterners in this regard. The history of other faiths and cultures features plenty of examples of highly educated professionals who were complicit in mass murder and genocide. I fear that for some people, the actions of those wayward few in London and Glasgow may have shattered the delicate and precious trust between Muslim physicians and their patients. But I am confident that the long record of exemplary service of more than 20,000 Muslim physicians in the United States will overcome the blowback of these crimes. Muslims of all stripes liberal or orthodox, moderate or puritanical recognize the virulent effect of this minority ideology and have condemned it. There are reports that many Muslims in Britain have gone beyond mere expressions of WILLIAM BROWN revulsion, anger and disgust and pledged active cooperation with the law. British Muslim scholars have proclaimed emphatically that preventing suicide terrorism is every Muslim's religious duty. We in the United States need to redouble our efforts to immunize our young against mutant ideologies that romanticize suicide bombing and to encourage political engagement and civil non violent protest. This may be accomplished through Islamic teachings for, after all, the Quran says, "If you have taken an innocent life, it is as if you have killed all humanity." Javeed Akhter is a physician and a founding member of the International Strategy and Policy Institute, a Chicago-based Muslim-American think tank. His e-mail is infoispi-usa.org. My fellow Americans, how can we be safe if we allow doctors to drive? ,1 GARRISON KEILLOR It may seem craven to say so, but a person really had to wonder at the inability of trained medical personnel to hook wire A to battery B to alarm clock C and detonate a car loaded with gasoline and nails in London. And then having to resort to the rather amateurish alternative of crashing a Jeep Cherokee into the Glasgow, Scotland, airport terminal the suicide bomb alumni association must be shaking their heads. Nonetheless, the fiasco in London is bound to bring new directives from the Department of Homeland Security forbidding doctors and nurses from operating motor vehicles. It only makes sense. Where there is smoke, there is fire. The war on terror must be pursued wherever it leads, and right now it points toward people with stethoscopes. It is the DHS that requires us to remove our shoes at the airport and put our toothpaste in a little plastic bag, all in homage to previous unsuccessful terrorists, and so a new rule from Secretary Shirtsoff seems inevitable. What evil lurks in the hearts of men, the Secretary knows. Doctors have been shown to constitute a security threat, therefore they must not be allowed to drive cars or have backpacks or briefcases, which can conceal bombs. They should carry their possessions in clear plastic bags and they should go barefoot at all times. When it comes to security, there can be no shortcuts, no half-measures. Perhaps these rules should apply only to medical personnel from the Middle East, or to all swarthy doctors, or those who have fez marks on their foreheads or who set off the fig detector, but that would require a lot of on-site decisions by motor vehicle bureaus and security personnel a blanket rule is easier to enforce. All docs take walks. After all, the Transportation Security Administration folks at the airport don't let you squeeze out a little Ipana on your finger and prove that it's only toothpaste and not nitroglycerine there just isn't time for that monkey business. And so, starting Sept. 1, everybody no exceptions in the health services field will be banned from driving anything with an ignition system. Thank you for your cooperation. You will be allowed to ride a bicycle or use public transportation, but you may not get behind the wheel or even sit in the front seat, lest you have a fit and overpower your driver and steer the vehicle into a terminal. Also, you must register the purchase of nails with your local law enforcement agency. Will this new rule apply to emergency medical technicians? Yes. The rescue vehicles they drive contain potentially explosive oxygen tanks, and so each EMT will have a non-EMT handler to keep an eye on him or her and check the gurney for suspicious bulges. Will there be larger and uglier concrete barriers blocking public buildings? Yes, enormous ones the size of split-level ramblers, made of specially hardened concrete that will survive our civilization. How can we be certain that our own internist or pediatrician does not have explosives strapped to his body? Medical personnel will be sniffed by trained dogs. They will be watched closely on closed-circuit cameras for beads of sweat, rapid pupil movements or other signs of anxiety. They will be required to wear transparent scrubs so that their bodies are visible (and also any explosive devices). If medical people are deprived of the right to drive, how will they serve the good folks of Yoknapatawpha County or get to the hospital late at night in an emergency? The DHS will employ and train a new corps of drivers to transport medical personnel and to watch them for furtive behavior such as whispering or making odd hand gestures. These driverwatchers will be English majors. It is a known fact that nobody who wrote a term paper about the novels of Edith Wharton has ever committed an act of terrorism. Anyone who can write 3,000 words deconstructing The House of Mirth and find the subtexts and the overtones of Sylvia Plath, the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun," the journals of Meriwether Lewis and My-Space has done enough violence and lost his appetite for terror. At the moment, a half-million English majors are employed in the service and hospitality industry, but they are ready to answer their country's call and assume responsible positions in the field of health care security. Trust us. We will watch the doctors and make sure they do not hurt you. Thank you for your understanding. Garrison Keillor's column appears Thursdays in The Sun. His e-mail is oldscoutprairiehome.us. How to stay cool when the lights go out in the city BY DOUG DONOVAN The thunderstorm that put the smackdown on crab town Tuesday uprooted trees and tossed them all around my North Baltimore neighborhood, downing wires that kept Wyman Park without power for nearly 24 hours. Some people the fancy folks with battery-powered fans like to think of the experience of having no electricity as a quaint return to simpler times. Little rowhouse on the prairie. Forget that. I've been through it enough times (at least once a year since moving to the city nearly five years ago) to have devised a mental endurance routine to being in the dark while paying Baltimore Gas and Electric bills that are putting everyone in the red. 1. Candles are cooler than flashlights. Candles may have the potential to start a fire, but they're also quick to provide a fun burst of fright when you Ah! spot a shadowy figure standing outside your kitchen window with a candle under its chin! (Oh, wait, that was my reflection.) Flashlights are better for outside use, for spotlighting potential prowlers who, like cockroaches, prefer the cover of darkness to creep around. 2. When the profiteering ice cream truck parks on the corner chiming its incessant electric bells, don't fight the urge to buy a soft-serve cone for you and your child. And don't let the purchase deter you from executing your plan to rescue (read: devour) the fast-melting 1.75 quarts of Breyers Caramel in the freezer. 3. Spouses love to bandy about obvious advice for surviving a power outage. There's comfort in verbally checking off the easy stuff. But if the heat has worn your tolerance thin, just bite your lip so you don't flip your lid when your wife calls on her way home from work long after you've cooked your kid dinner on the gas grill to remind you not to open the refrigerator or freezer, lest the coolness trapped inside escape and the food spoil. "Yes, honey. Thank you," is the proper response. "Duh" is not. 4. Take a cold shower at 3 a.m. But no baths. You could fall asleep and drown. On the subject of water, drink a lot of it (not bathwater) and encourage family members to do the same unless they're under 3 and still straddling the world between Disney princess pull-ups and underwear. Push the water, but go with Snow White. 5. Resign yourself to not shaving in the morning. Power outages may have nothing to do with the water, but somehow the excuse of "we didn't have power all night" absolves you from standard office protocol. (Take a nap on your desk next to a handwritten sign that says: "Exhausted. No Power Last Night. Very Hot.") And finally, in the morning, sit on the porch with pen and paper and enjoy what passes for cool air in Baltimore as you formulate the bill you will send to BGE. You'll be demanding a refund for the power that you didn't receive, for the $100 of groceries you lost and for the breakfast you paid for at an air-conditioned restaurant in the morning after the long, hot night. When you calculate the electric portion of this bill, assume the highest level of usage you've ever logged all the lights on, fans whirring, window units humming, all electronic devices charging then increase it by 70 percent. If the cost of electricity is going up, so is the price of any time I'm deprived of it. Doug Donovan is a Sun staff writer. His e-mail is doug.donovanbaltsun.com. NOTABLE QUOTABLE HARRIS, I'M NOT PAYING YOU 70 5PENPALLPAY OQMPLAMWS ABOUT WHAT YOU'FB PAIP! THEYMUSTe5P0tH6A BETTER. JOB IN THE BAR-P40 H16H SCHOOLS THAU I P B5BN LEP TO BELIEVE COLLSOE UNPEZ MY BELT! THAT EXPLAINS ALOT. IJ0R5B60Ami9EBEm CAUSE HE VI9 A 3AN6 - UP JOB IN THE BACK OF- FICE. HZAiHfWm M T here will be linguistic conservatives who will turn M. their nose up at a word like 'ginormous.' But it's become a part of our language." JOHN MORSE, president of Merriam-Webster, on the inclusion of the word (it's an adjective that combines "gigantic" and "enormous") in the company's forthcoming collegiate dictionary; also on the list of about 100 added words are "crunk" (a style of Southern rap music), "Bollywood" (India's motion-picture industry) and "smackdown" (a contest in entertainment wrestling) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 19,400+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Baltimore Sun
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free