HomeCalendarFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Donating organs, blood transfusions

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Bee

avatar

Posts : 314
Join date : 2011-09-12

PostSubject: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:34 am

My husband mentioned a while back that Jewish culture might not accept blood transfusions or donate organs when they pass away. Does anyone know about this? I don't think it would be in the Torah, maybe in other writings? I have had surgery and don't know if I was given donors blood or not, but I would like to know what to do if me or my hubby ever have to face this situation.
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:34 pm

Bee, there is nothing in Jewish Law that forbids blood transfusions. Actually, since saving a life is extremely important both giving blood and receiving blood could be considered obligatory.

Organ donation is a little more tricky. Jewish thought and law emphasis respect and care for the bodies of the dead. Cutting them open and removing parts could be seen as mutilation. However, since saving lives is paramount and if it's possible to know that organ will be used to save a life (not for research, etc) it can be permissible.

Now, some people feel that by donating an organ violates the laws on burials but Rabbi Moshe Feinstein said when an organ is put into another living person it is no longer part of the dead and the burial laws do not apply. Some others are worried about not having all of their body parts after the resurrection of the dead. An answer to that has been they will be regenerated or you will be able to live without them (really, if you can be brought back to life I'm sure you could live with an organ).

I believe within the Conservative movement there is some debate but not as much. I am not sure about the Reform movement but I suspect it's just a given because it saves lives.

There are some other issues that can arise like determining when someone is dead since removing an organ at the wrong time would be murder, etc. But those are things that can be dealt with and shouldn't discourage you from being an organ donor.

Does that answer your question? If you want to know more you can do some research. There is an Halachic Organ Donation Society too if you want to look it up. I'll give you the link here. Halachic Organ Donation Society
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:38 pm

That site has a video from Blu Greenberg. I really like her. I did not know her son had been killed. Crying or Very sad He was an organ donor and his organs were donated in Israel on Shabbat the day before Yom Kippur. She gives the background of what happened and answers questions.
Back to top Go down
Bee

avatar

Posts : 314
Join date : 2011-09-12

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:54 pm

That is a good point about organ donation, at what point do they take your organs? During life support? So that is a good point to think about. My brother in law had a terrible accident where he was pronounced dead at the scene, as they took his body out some one decided to check his pulse again and found a slight pulse. He was so severe they called the entire family to make funeral arrangements. They kept him on life support long enough for the family to get there, he had severe brain trauma. Well a day after the family flew there he woke up and was tearing off all his life support tubes and the doctors had to induce a coma to stabalize him. I didn't go so I don't know if he was a donor or not, but that could have ended his life. He is a walking miracle and a long story, but to think ...when do they take organs?
Back to top Go down
Debbie B.

avatar

Posts : 373
Join date : 2011-09-05
Location : Chicagoland

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:23 pm

The organs start to deteriorate once they are not kept supplied with blood, so the organs are usually taken while the body is still on life support. However, they run diagnostic tests for brain activity before removing any organs. Brain death is irreversible. In your BIL's case, the doctors probably assumed that if they removed life support, his body would deteriorate and he would die because his brain was so badly injured. But I doubt that he was considered to be "brain dead" and thus a candidate for organ donation. I have heard about cases where even though the brain-injured person was certainly going to die, the organs could not be harvested because there was still slight brain activity. But the body died very slowly such that by the time of actual death, the organs had deteriorated and could not be used. It is because of situations like your BIL that the protocol is set up to ensure that organs are not taken prematurely.
Back to top Go down
Bee

avatar

Posts : 314
Join date : 2011-09-12

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:18 pm

Thats good to know. I have always been a supporter of organ donation, but lately I am having second thoughts because I have no idea what Judaism's stand is on the subject. I pray we never have to make that choice (Gd forbid). My husband and I are on the Orthodox road to Judaism. So I guess it will be a topic in the future. I think for now until we study it for ourselves, we will opt out on the donation or blood transfusion list. I honestly don't know how to feel one way or another, I just want to make a descision based on what our sages say about it.
Back to top Go down
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:26 pm

I believe in all states, no one at the scene of an accident can declare death; the person has to be taken to the hospital where a doctor will declare death. That's because machines and multiple types of examination are a lot more accurate than someone taking a pulse in the middle of an accident scene.

I don't know about the ultra-Orthodox, but the vast majority of all other Jews in all other denominations not only support blood donation, but tissue and organ donation as well (our Reform synagogue even hosts blood drives), because the preservation of life trumps all other religious laws except idolatry, murder, and sexual immorality.

For Orthodox Jews who have a family member who is on life support but brain dead, they will probably call in a rabbi for instructions specific to their situation when it comes to "pulling the plug" and harvesting the organs. I think most hostpitals (and/or states) require two doctors to sign the "pull the plug" order, but even if they don't, a rabbi is probably going to demand that a second doctor be consulted before doing anything.

If there is any question of life, nothing will be done until the situation becomes clear. As great a mitzvah as it is to donate your organs to save the life of another person, it's murder to take them out of someone who is not clearly dead. In that case, better to lose the chance at the organs than to take them where there is still a shadow of doubt.
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:29 pm

Bee, there is nothing in Jewish Law that prohibits blood transfusions or donating blood. You do not need to "opt out". You are free to give and receive blood (so long as you don't have any illness that prevents it of course). I just wanted to make that part clear. Very Happy
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:34 pm

Mychal wrote:


For Orthodox Jews who have a family member who is on life support but brain dead, they will probably call in a rabbi for instructions specific to their situation when it comes to "pulling the plug" and harvesting the organs. I think most hostpitals (and/or states) require two doctors to sign the "pull the plug" order, but even if they don't, a rabbi is probably going to demand that a second doctor be consulted before doing anything.

If there is any question of life, nothing will be done until the situation becomes clear. As great a mitzvah as it is to donate your organs to save the life of another person, it's murder to take them out of someone who is not clearly dead. In that case, better to lose the chance at the organs than to take them where there is still a shadow of doubt.

In Mrs. Greenberg's situation she explains that a team of doctors who would not benefit from her son's organs (their patients wouldn't be able to use any of his organs) came together to make the decision. And yes, you would also want to consult your Rabbi.
Back to top Go down
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:45 pm

This is the answer presented by AskMoses.com (which is Orthodox, but your Orthdoxy may vary by mileage; most people rely on their personal rabbi)

Jewish law distinguishes between donating organs during your lifetime and organ donation after death. While you are alive, it is one of the greatest acts you could do. In theory, the same should apply to donating organs after death. But in practice, consenting to have your organs removed after death presents some major Halachic problems.

The Askmoses Answer:

Judaism holds life as being sacred. For this reason, donating an organ to save a life is one of the highest act of virtue one can do. But sometimes, precisely because life is sacred, organ donation is problematic.

Jewish law distinguishes between donating organs during your lifetime and organ donation after death. While you are alive, to donate an organ that you can live without, like a kidney, or parts that will replenish themselves, like bone marrow or blood, in order to save or vastly improve another life is one of the greatest acts you could do.


to donate an organ that you can live without... in order to save or vastly improve another life is one of the greatest acts you could do.
In theory, the same should apply to donating organs after death. Being that saving lives overrides almost any other moral concern, the opportunity to do so after our death should be not only acceptable but even obligatory. So for example, though the Torah commands us to be buried whole, this command would step aside for the greater command to save lives.

But in practice, consenting to have your organs removed after death presents some heavy problems.

It is forbidden to tamper with a corpse in any way unless it is in order to directly save a life. But when you sign a consent form to have your organs removed, not all of those organs will necessarily be used for an immediate transplant. They may be used for research, or stored away, or even discarded if not needed. Jewish law only allows organ donation if it can be ensured that the organs will indeed be used to save lives.

This is a life and death question. We need higher wisdom to guide us. Thank G-d we have the Torah to give us clarity in these ultimate issues.
But there is a much more serious concern: to be usable in a transplant, most organs have to be removed from the deceased donor while the heart is still beating. While the medical and legal world has accepted brain death as a new definition of death, this remains the subject of great dispute in the Halachic world. Many experts in Jewish law maintain that if the heart is still beating, the person is still alive. They say the moment of death is defined as when the heart stops. According to this view, to remove organs from a brain dead patient while the heart is still beating is tantamount to murder.

To tamper with the definition of death is to start on a path that can lead to major ethical problems. Imagine a case where 89 year old patient X is partially brain dead and, according to the doctors, certainly going to die. Patient Y in the next bed, aged thirty five, urgently needs a heart transplant. Why not pronounce X dead now rather than risk losing both patients? It may sound reasonable, but it can be taking one life to save another. For those who see life as sacred, this is unconscionable.

Some countries offer an option to give consent to organs being removed on condition that a rabbi is consulted beforehand, who will ascertain that they will only be removed after absolute death and be used only to save lives. In countries where no such option exists, we don't consent to the removal of organs after death.

This is a life and death question. We need higher wisdom to guide us. I wouldn't want to have to decide what is right and wrong based on my own subjective opinion and feelings. Thank G-d we have the Torah to give us clarity in these ultimate issues.


So, what you may want to do is draft a living will (which everyone needs anyways) and state that you want your organs to ONLY go to a living person in need of a transplant and ONLY after your executor (i.e. your husband) seeks and receives approval from your rabbi.

By the way, it's not true that research can never be done on a body or organ. Most rabbis have an exception to that as well if the deceased had a disease that needs further research and this reseach might help others who are still alive. The body and/or organs are supposed to be returned after use to be buried, however, and they are not to be kept any longer than necessary. Also, an autopsy may be performed when foul play is suspected, with the same rule--don't keep the body unburied any longer than necessary and make sure to bury any pieces that were removed.
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
Bee

avatar

Posts : 314
Join date : 2011-09-12

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:11 pm

Good info here. It helps very much to ease my concerns.
@ In regards to Mychal, really its a long story and I am omitting a lot of details but he is in the military and let's just say he is a poster child for miracles that baffled the physicians on scene and in the icu.
Back to top Go down
maculated

avatar

Posts : 156
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 37
Location : San Luis Obispo, CA

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:07 pm

I actually decided recently that it was sort of a moral imperative that I give blood as I am super healthy and have O-. It turns out that not being a little thing (over 5'5" and 150 lbs) is good in this arena as they can get double your donation out of you. I feel like it's a bit of Tikkun Olam to donate an hour every few months to it. And then I have an awesome bruise to show.
Back to top Go down
http://www.about.me/kristin.mcnamara
Bee

avatar

Posts : 314
Join date : 2011-09-12

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:47 pm

Ok, I'm barely over 5 feet my youthful and vibrant friend and wish I was 150! I think you are hilarious and by your humor you are definitely a Cali girl...although in Texas people are nice, but lack that humor and kick back attitude. I have tried being myself and not too successful ...some people don't get me. That's ok, me and my hubby entertain each other ;-) Next year in Jerusalem or South Lake Tahoe!
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 34

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:26 pm

maculated wrote:
I actually decided recently that it was sort of a moral imperative that I give blood as I am super healthy and have O-. It turns out that not being a little thing (over 5'5" and 150 lbs) is good in this arena as they can get double your donation out of you.

I didn't know that! I remember when I was a teenager I thought I would never weigh enough to give blood. Yeah, right. I have actually never donated because I'm selfish I suppose. I hate having blood taken, it's so difficult with my small veins and I just loath it. I have always felt a little odd about it too since I do not feel well, I'm not sure I would want to give my blood to someone else. There is probably nothing wrong with it but it's just something I worry about. I did try to sign up on a bone marrow donor site and realized I am ineligible. Apparently individuals Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue are not accepted. Oh well.
Back to top Go down
maculated

avatar

Posts : 156
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 37
Location : San Luis Obispo, CA

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:15 am

Awww, I'm sorry, Dena. That's a lot to stand up to. Keep all your blood. You need it!

Next year in South Lake Tahoe indeed! :)

Back to top Go down
http://www.about.me/kristin.mcnamara
Bee

avatar

Posts : 314
Join date : 2011-09-12

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:13 am

What about life support? If you are asked to give permission to "pull the plug"? Would that be taking a life? Can a family member say they don't want to be recessitated if their heart stops or off life support? Can I go against their wishes because its saving them? How long should someone be on life support?
Back to top Go down
maculated

avatar

Posts : 156
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 37
Location : San Luis Obispo, CA

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:53 pm

http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/right.html
Back to top Go down
http://www.about.me/kristin.mcnamara
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:58 pm

When it comes to taking care of other family members, I think you should do what their living will states, or what they indicated to you that they want. Gentiles are not required to follow Jewish law (including the Jewish definition of when death occurs), so it's going to be better and easier for everyone if you just do what they wanted or what you think they wanted.

If your family member belonged to a certain faith, you can consult with a representative of that faith (hospitals will provide a minister/priest/imam/rabbi if you can't contact your family member's personal religious leader) to see what that faith's position is on the situation. Certainly you would want your family to consult your rabbi if you were in that position.

Same goes with funeral customs; you are not obligated to bury your relatives according to Jewish law if they're not Jewish. So if they want to lay out for three days and be viewed and embalmed, have a big funeral officiated by a priest or preacher, and be put in a metal coffin in a concrete vault or be cremated, then honor their wishes.

If you are asked to make decisions and you have no idea what the deceased (or soon to be deceased) wanted, or you are dealing with a Jewish person, then you turn to your rabbi. The situation with modern medicine is now so complicated that there are multiple opinions, and your rabbi will probably hold with one more than others. So your rabbi will tell you if it is or is not okay to take someone off life support.

It's my understanding that you can sign a DNR order (do not resuscitate). There is one story of a great rabbi who was dying, and his followers were outside the house and were praying for him fervently and continually. And he lingered because of their prayers. Finally, he told his wife to stop them, and she did something that startled the followers and they momentarily stopped praying (I want to say . When they stopped, the rabbi died. They were later told that it was necessary for them to stop praying, because they were keeping him tied to earth and it was his time to go.

That story has been used to help determine what must be done and what does not have to be done. You can't deny food and water (like in the Terry Shiavo case), and you can't deny oxygen to someone who is otherwise capable of living (like Christopher Reeve), but are you required to keep someone's heart beating when it would otherwise stop on its own AND it's appropriate for it to stop (e.g. the person is old or terminally ill)? It think most rabbis are going to say no.
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
Samantha

avatar

Posts : 66
Join date : 2011-09-18
Location : London, England

PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:09 pm

I'm an organ donor. I take the usual UK Liberal Judaism stance that pikuach nefesh (saving a human life) takes precedence over the dissecting of a body for organ donation. I'm a strong believer that life should be protected and I show this through being a vegetarian, and also through the donation of my organs after death.

I would dearly love to give blood, but I can't due to a blood transfusion I had when I was a baby. If I could I would then perhaps reconsider the donation of my organs due to the ongoing debate surrounding the issue, but as I can't, I'm on the register. Having been given something belonging to another when I was so young and thus saving my life, I feel obligated to do so.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Donating organs, blood transfusions   

Back to top Go down
 
Donating organs, blood transfusions
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Jewish Fundamentals :: Torah and Halacha-
Jump to: