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Late Korean cardinal's example sparks increase in organ donations

Catholic World News - February 15, 2011

South Korea has seen a sharp increase in the number of people registering as organ donors in the two years since the death of Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan.

More than 300,000 people have registered as donors in the past 2 years. That figure represents a substantial increase from previous years, when the annual number was under 100,000. Officials say that they expect the numbers to remain high in the near future.

Cardinal Kim had been a strong advocate of organ donation. Expressing his desire to “give everything and leave with nothing,” he indicated that he wanted his own organs to be used, if possible, after his death; both of his eyes were donated. His example sparked new interest in organ donation—as did a group he set up, “One Body, One Spirit,” to encourage donors.

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  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Feb. 15, 2011 8:42 PM ET USA

    Unfortunately, this is a dangerous precedent, as organ harvesting for body parts other than corneas, requires that the organs be removed virtually at the moment of death. Given the serious questions recently arisen concerning determination of brain death, there should be tighter restrictions on donation. Instead, there is a strong probability that the boundaries are being pushed and deaths may be hurried in order to allow donation. This is not a path the Church should encourage. Be wary!

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