If Mayor Mike Bloomberg has his way, anyone suffering a heart attack will get responses from Emergency Medical Technicians...and special organ donation teams ready and waiting to take your organs should you conveniently not survive.
Equally barbaric and depravingly insensitive -- nearly criminally indifferent -- is the proposal to have doctors ready to swoop in on the deceased's loved ones within minutes to ask for the organs.
And there's little difference in practical terms between the government letting you die and pressuring your relatives to give you the organs, and a private third party brokering a sale of organs like one rabbi in New Jersey whose commerce in kidneys got him indicted by federal prosecutors who consider selling organs to be a federal crime. (Please - no New Jersey jokes -- at least in New Jersey the organ brokers are candid enough to sell kidneys and do not pretend to be doing a public good.)
Such insensitivity was more the hallmark of truly barbaric cultures like the Aztecs, who would play sports involving kicking around the head of a vanquished opponent. This proposal shames those of us who treasure our commitment to human life -- and to fundamental equality under both the eyes of a Supreme Being, and the Fourteenth Amendment. So much for America as an advanced nation.
All of this is under the guise of "helping" people...and if you are in cardiac distress you would be providing the help the most!
This dangerous proposal puts ordinary suffering City residents at the peril of having to trust that their paramedic is there to save them, not to go shopping for organs for a friend or family member. No regulation can prevent a paramedic from making his own warped triage assessment of you -- oh, this one will die anyway, let's see if his pancreas works because Uncle George has pancreatic cancer and needs a transplant.
The simple saying used by investigators and prosecutors -- "motive and opportunity" -- is also true here. Self-proclaimed saviors will have both the motive and opportunity to let you die in order to give your organs to someone else they prefer.
This warped and dangerous mentality was on display earlier this year, when New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (who ran unsuccessfully for Attorney General) proposed an "opt-out" requirement for New York drivers, who under his proposal would become subject to automatic organ harvesting upon death unless they opted out by checking off a box on their driver's license. Thankfully, Brodsky's bill languishes in Albany.
When the first New Yorker should perish and the family (and their lawyers) suspect an intentionally slow EMT response time, Bloomberg's pilot program will be targeted as the reason.
Eric Dixon is an attorney in New York who engages in strategic analysis of a diverse mix of legislative, economic and other policy matters, and advises on certain matters involving government investigations, corporate investigations, civil rights and civil liberties matters. Mr. Dixon may be reached at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com and by phone at 917-696-2442.