Medical research is a wonderful thing.
If you are lucky enough not to have a severe medical disorder in yourself or your family, you probably don’t follow developments that closely. And it’s developments that make you think, give you those little bits of hope when life looks particularly crap, and now we have the stupid situation that unless the person gives explicit consent, then any and all samples of their tissue (and blood is classified as a tissue) must be discarded after they have been used for their intended purpose. Now that sounds good – after all, experimentation should be clear and above board, but it’s not a good thing, not at all.
Lets say that in 3 weeks, a scientist discovers a useful test for prostate cancer (there isn’t one right now), and in order to satisfy his peers that it is of value, he needs to test it. With this new law, he cannot use samples already stored as their owners did not give explicit permission for this test because it did not exist at that time. Without this law, he would have been fine.
How many people will actually ‘opt-in’ and allow these tests ? I’d say it would not be 100% of the available people, yet guess what, you just know that 100% of the people want the benefit.
Do you know that there is a large demand for placentas and umbilical cords ? Hospitals routinely store them in a freezer and sell them on to commercial companies (face cream anyone ?), yet does this law give people (oops – women) the right to do what they want with their placenta ? Actually no, it does not. Hospitals have always, as far as I know, agreed to a woman taking her placenta should she wish (eat it ? stick it under a rosebush ? hardly framing material is it ?) but now, they will have to ask the women to sign some sort of legal permission / disclaimer. I’ll bet that buried in some sort of form early on in the whole preganancy thing.
I can’t honestly see why a hospital is going to store large numbers of organs unless they will, at some future point, have a purpose. It’s not like beer mat collecting is it ? And I really cannot quite see why all these people are leaping on the bandwagon of “They kept his heart and it’s traumatizing me”. Okay, so I may be a hard-faced bastard, but really, be honest here, all they are really after is a fat payout of compensation for ‘mental trauma’ so they can have a holiday or buy a new fridge.
A person is not defined by an organ, or by hair colour, or anything else that may remain after death. The body that remains is merely the shell. The essence of a person is almost indefinable.
So, this law is stupid, and will hinder medical research. The law is saying that it is MY tissue, and anything that a scientist wants to do to it must have been discussed with me, and I must have given my explicit permission. The tissue is MINE, and you can’t interfere unless I say so, yes ?
If this afternoon, I go into a bodyart studio and ask for a scarification, and provide a document that I have prepared which gives full permission, and a lot of details for the procedure, then I should be okay shouldn’t I ? After all, the tissue is MINE. But now it’s not. No, it belongs to the sovereign, and as such the police will prosecute the artist for damaging my tissue. WTF is that all about then ?
So a scientist want a biopsy, and that’s cool.
But an artist wants to satisfy my desire for a scar, and suddenly it’s not okay ?
So whose tissue is it really ?