There has been plenty of bad and just plain stupid legislation to go through our state government this year, the sort of things that make you ask, "What were these people thinking?"
With bills on everything from requiring schools to weigh students (Hey! How about weighing some of those bus drivers while you're at it - it could probably save fuel!) to legislation that would prohibit stacking ladders more than three high in the back of a truck, lawmakers have spent lots of time thumb-twiddling this session.
They do that every year, so that's no surprise. We let them spend way too much time in Atlanta and expect too little.
One good bill came out of the Legislature this past week, however. And it actually could save lives.
There is a gray area in Georgia law regarding how a person can give permission for their organs to be used for transplant after their death. Even though you might have checked "organ donor" on your driver's license, hospital personnel still won't follow through with the donation unless your family also gives permission.
Grief makes some people irrational. And all it takes is one irrational family member to deny the permission in death that you had willingly given in life.
Senate Bill 405 has a good chance of passage, and it should. It would eliminate the gray area in the law and allow organ donation to proceed without the consent of a family member if the donor had already given permission. The only way a family member could revoke permission would be in cases in which the potential donor is younger than 18.
This one hits home for me. I well remember the letter we received from LifeLink of Georgia, the organ procurement agency, letting our family members know that five people had received potentially life-saving transplants thanks to my mother's donation.
Even though as a medical professional she had given her consent as an organ donor long before her death, Emory Hospital still had to keep my mom on life support and await our permission before they could proceed with "harvesting" (ugh - what a harsh word) what they could from her lifeless body.
If this bill passes, and there is no reason it shouldn't, there no doubt will still be an occasional clash between an irrational, grieving family member and medical professionals trying to save other lives. But this law undoubtedly will help.
What will help even more is to not just check that box, but to let every family member know your wishes. None of us gets out of this alive, but at least we might be able to help someone else live a little longer.
Goodbye, Miss Linda
Speaking of moms, it was with incredible sadness this week that I learned of the death of Linda Jordan.
A lifelong resident of Winfield, Miss Linda was the mother of my nearly lifelong friend, Jeff. From second-grade forward, the two of us have been through thick and thicker - and his mom was always there to make us a sandwich afterward.
She's had a tough time these past few years with the deaths of her husband, her oldest son and a granddaughter. In the midst of it, after moving to the mountains to quietly retire, she was diagnosed with cancer and returned to Winfield.
Everyone thought the cancer was gone. It wasn't. She opted for comfort over hopeless struggle, and early Tuesday the fight ended just a few hundred yards from the humble home in which she was born.
Reunited with Mr. Tommy and the rest of her departed family, may she now finally find the rest she sought in those North Carolina mountains.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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