Just a quick post before Shabbat begins. I noticed an article in the Jerusalem Post that may have an effect on the way the Chareidi community views becoming an organ donor. Apparently, doctors in Israel were successful in transplanting a kidney from a donor that had been without a heartbeat for several hours.
This is an exceptional accomplishment, because it opens the possibility for those who believe in Cardiac death to donate their organs after what they consider to be halachic death. (See my extensive posts from October 2010 for more on this topic). Whether or not it actually changes the practice of the Chareidi world remains to be seen of course.
Just FYI, there still is a long way to go before it can become regular practice to harvest donor organs after cardiac death. The new techniques will need to be tested and attempted on other organs as well as the kidneys. Furthermore, harvesting the organ prior to cardiac death is still much more likely to be successful. However, maybe it can open the path for a Chareidi living will that explicitly states that the individual is willing to donate his/her organs if cardiac death is established first.
This may turn out to be a real opportunity for the Chareidi world, once organs can be donated even after cardiac death, they can join the ranks of the potential organ donors! I certainly hope we see that happen!