If you skip the helmet, give an organ

  • John Britz comes to Bike Week from Pennsylvania every year for the last 25 years to help spread the word of God along the Weirs Beach Main Street. His motorcycle is full of painted scenes from the Bible. And Blitz sees a lot of things along the boardwalk.

For the Monitor
Published: 2/13/2018 11:01:49 PM

In response to last Sunday’s editorial “When your freedom is our burden,” I would like to address not only the lack of an adult seat belt law, but also the lack of a motorcycle helmet law for many years in our state. Forty years ago, I was completing my surgical training at a hospital in Boston that did more transplants than anywhere in the Northeast. It was the State of New Hampshire back then where most of our cadveric organs came from per capita because the state laws were similar then. In fact we were very busy every year in mid-June because of motorcycle week and weekend.

The editorial from Sunday said, because of the lack of a law, that seat belt use among adults in our state is about 20 percent lower than the national average. It also states that the medical costs of those injured who were not wearing seat belts is often shifted to the rest of those who do wear seat belts via the insurance premiums paid by most of the population.

After my training I became a general surgeon and took frequent trauma calls for the next 35 years, most of it in New Hampshire. It was clear that those not wearing seat belts or wearing helmets were not only at higher risk of being severely injured but also being killed. The majority of those patients dying unfortunately, for various reasons, did not become organ donors.

I would hope that those individuals who take the risk of not protecting themselves with a belt or helmet would at least carry an organ donor card in their wallet and also inform their families that they are willing to be an organ donor. It would be great if those who take “Live Free or Die” literally in their seat belt and/or helmet choice could at least do something good for those in need or an organ.

Possibly, Rep. Dan Haynes of Merrimack, who is quoted in the editorial as being strongly against the seat belt law, would consider passing a law saying that individuals dying from the lack of a seat belt or helmet would automatically become an organ donor no matter what is in their wallet.

If we’re all stuck because of the lack of a law into cost shifting the financial burden of medical care, maybe we can at least keep organs alive and shift them too to those in need.

(Nick Perencevich lives in Concord.)

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