« Wunder Radio | Main | I'm feeling kind of old today »

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Playing the 'protexia' Card

I read an interesting statistic yesterday:

62% of Israelis surveyed indicated that they would be willing to donate at least some of their life-saving organs after they were done using them (i.e. after they died). That's a pretty impressive number considering that there is a lot of confusion and misinformation floating around about whether, and/or to what extent, organ donation is permitted under Jewish Law.

But despite nearly two thirds of the population indicating that they would donate organs, only 10% of the population has actually signed up for an Adi donor card which would make it possible for them to do so.


Adi Card

I've never been very good at math, but even I can figure out that if 62% of the population says they are willing to do something, but only 10% have taken the necessary step to ensure that this 'something' can actually happen... well, Houston, we have a problem.

Now, I don't normally have a lot of confidence in the government's ability to solve problems (What's the old saying? 'If you aren't part of the solution, there's a lot of money to be made perpetuating the problem'). But based on what I've been reading, I think the mighty Israeli bureaucracy might actually have a good idea (for a change).

Basically, their big idea boils down to something Israelis hold near and dear: Protexia.

[protexia is a slang term which describes having an inside track to limited goods, services and/or opportunities. In short, knowing someone who knows someone... knowing how to short circuiting the system (in your favor) by tapping personal connections, etc..]

Simply put, anyone who signs up for an organ donor card will (along with their immediate family members) be given priority over non-card holders when it comes to receiving donor organs.

I'm sure there are medical ethicist out there who might argue that life-saving organs should be prioritized blindly to those who need them most urgently... full stop. But it seems to me that if the goal is to change the organ donation scenario from 'who lives and who dies?' to 'who goes first?'... we're going to have to make the potential donor pool as large as possible.

And this newly enforced government ruling seems (to me) to be a hell of a good way to do just that.

I've had my Adi donor card in my wallet since 2007, and a corresponding HOD (Halachic Organ Donor) card for the US since about the same time.

Yes, the act of signing up for any kind of a donor card is an unpleasant acknowledgement that we will (one day) die. As obvious as that may be, it is a reality that most of us do all kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid confronting.

In a nod to this completely understandable mental stumbling block, the Israeli government has decided to appeal to arguably the only thing that might force people to overcome their own (and their family's) fear of mortality: Their will to live (at least a little longer).

While we all hope that we will live to 120, and pass away quietly in our sleep surrounded by loved ones... we understand deep down that our life's trajectory is probably weighted far more in favor of an earlier... less pleasant demise. And in many cases, the only hope for gaining a few more precious years on this mortal coil, is to have access to a life-saving donor organ.

And if there is one thing Israelis understand... it is that when demand outstrips supply (as it surely does in the case of donor organs), having protexia for oneself (and for ones immediate family) can take a lot of the chill off the contemplation of death.

I strongly encourage anyone reading this in Israel to sign up for an Adi organ donor card.

The English version is here... and the Hebrew form is here. It is quick and easy, and within a few days, you'll get your very own protexia Adi card in the mail.

Knowing that you have protexia can be an incredibly comforting thing... even if you never have to use it.

Posted by David Bogner on November 16, 2010 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c581e53ef013489044ed9970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Playing the 'protexia' Card:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Your blog post inspired me not to be part of the 62% and before I could finish the post i had printed, filled out and faxed over my organ donation form.

thanks Trep

Posted by: ahuvah | Nov 16, 2010 10:42:06 AM

ahuvah... Kol HaKavod! BTW, the link from the food tab on your blog to your 'food porn' seems to be broken.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 16, 2010 10:54:11 AM

After a chat with a science teacher in high school my entire class decided to sign up for donor cards and I've had one since.
I keep reminding my poor husband about it so if the day comes it won't have to think too hard about the matter.

One Yom Kippur my synagogue handed out sign up cards accompanied by a paper in which several Rabbis explained why donation was both kosher and a mitzvah.

Posted by: Esther | Nov 16, 2010 12:22:04 PM

After a chat with a science teacher in high school my entire class decided to sign up for donor cards and I've had one since.
I keep reminding my poor husband about it so if the day comes it won't have to think too hard about the matter.

One Yom Kippur my synagogue handed out sign up cards accompanied by a paper in which several Rabbis explained why donation was both kosher and a mitzvah.

Posted by: Esther | Nov 16, 2010 12:22:04 PM

Doesn't Israel already do something similar with blood?
In other words, if you donate blood to MDA then you are eligible to receive blood for the next year.

Posted by: Dan | Nov 16, 2010 3:17:53 PM

Esther... A nice thing is that there is a box that you can check on the card which says that your organs can only be harvested in consultation with a religious authority that your family designates.

Dan... Yes, that's blood insurance. The difference is that you will never be denied access to blood. You'll just have to pay for it if you or a family member hasn't donated in the past year.

Posted by: Treppenwitz | Nov 16, 2010 7:11:34 PM

Thank you for this; I've had a HODS card for many years, and it didn't even occur to me that my HODS card might not apply here. Adi form is being printed out & faxed asap.

Hmm... I wonder if David will get extra protexia for signing up so many new people? ;)

Posted by: Alissa | Nov 16, 2010 9:38:16 PM

Oh, and if you go to the Israeli form, you can submit the form electronically, rather than printing and faxing.

Posted by: Alissa | Nov 16, 2010 9:53:43 PM

Proud ADI card-holder since 2004, on my US driving license since I first acquired one.

About the blood donation...when patients who don't have the green MDA card need blood, they do get it anyway. But by the time they've arrived back to the ward from the recovery suite there's a note on their bed requiring a family member to make a donation in the next few days to cover what they received. If not, they get charged.

Posted by: Noa | Nov 17, 2010 10:48:43 AM

I've had an ADI card since I first heard about them. At some point, my organs, like the rest of my physical existence will be of no use to me. It would be a great thing if someone still in this life could gain benefit from what I've left behind.

What is so complicated or emotionally difficult about this?

Posted by: Nurse Yachne | Nov 18, 2010 4:23:45 PM

Post a comment