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For every door that opens another one slams shut

Tue, 26 Oct 2004

For every door that opens another one slams shut...

That's how it seems at the moment, there seems to be a fair amount of politics & pettiness in trying to save lives recently. Here's the story.

At the beginning of the year I had a call from a Producer for DNZ (Documentary New Zealand) He had read and heard of the work we were doing and particularly with the advances we have made.

He wanted to do a documentary (kind of fly on the wall) following me around the country interviewing those on the waiting list, those who have had a transplant, those who have donated, transplant doctors etc. Culminating in my interviewing the Minister of Health or the Prime Minister in what were they going to do about the problems.

In the meantime I have been supplying them with information, research and contacts of people from all sides who would be willing to be interviewed.

I was contacted today by the producer saying that they have had to drop me from the programme altogether as the organ donor service/doctors have refused to appear on the same programme as me. Of course without them there is no programme. (this is not the first time this has happened, publicising organ donation on prime time TV has been lost several times, i.e. Holmes, the Sunday Documentary due to refusals of these people to appear on the programme.)

What do these people have to hide? Maybe they are worried that they are wrong? They surely can't have the interests of those needing a transplant if they turn down opportunities for prime interview spots on TV? Maybe they should be looking at the bigger picture, rather than shun welcome publicity in favour of kindergarten tantrums that even my three year old has grown out of?

I am well aware that my views are different to theirs. In fact their view is different to 70% of the population as seen in a Colmar Brunton Poll and in the recently released public consultation documents from the Ministry of Health.

However, I would of thought that a difference in views is healthy in a democratic country and is up for debate. But for one side to say they will only be interviewed if the other side isn't because they believe they are right and no-one else is, is not only arrogant but communistic. It could be called transplant terrorism. Sure there will be people in the programme that will have had a transplant but they will be no match for the bullying tactics of some in the medical profession who still believe "doctors know best "- not the patient.

There is further evidence of this...

The new organ donor service is due to start next year. It will report to an organ donor advisory board. I contacted the MOH about this board and was told that it would be formed after the establishment of the organ donor service next year. Now you would think on an advisory board there would be some sort of representation from people other than doctors, i.e. people on the other side of the coin, so as they could offer perspectives not seen by the medical profession?

Well I have just received some documents which I requested under the Official information Act:

In a Health Report to Annette King, MOH, titled Organ Donation and Transplantation Issues - file ref: TT80-002 It says:

"Ministry of Health Officials will be meeting with members of the proposed advisory board in October to discuss the future of the office and ways to improve the rate of organ donation in New Zealand."

So it appears that you can not apply to be a representative on the board as it appears that the boys club have already decided who is going to be on it despite the Deputy Director of Health telling me desicion on a board would be next year!

Here are two paragraphs from the minutes of a meeting of ODNZ on 26 April 2004:

In terms of membership of the advisory committee, Stephen Munn suggested that a role of the committee is to represent people who need to give advice about process, or who benefit from the 'products' produced. The committee would need a donor family, transplant recipient and recipient programmes. Consideration would also need to be given to ethnic and ethical inputs.

However, Stephen Streat was concerned that ODNZ was a national service, and should not solely have consumer representation from people with a specific focus on donation."

So there it is folks! See what we're up against? And this isn't all of it! I have found other anomalies in these documents also.

I'm hoping a newspaper reporter will pick up on this and expose the propaganda and tactics these people are using to try and have it their way...




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