Organ Snatchers!

NZ has a very low rate of organ donations, and one reason for this is because the explicit wishes of the person who agrees to donate organs in case of their death, can be ignored if a family member objects.

I think this is wrong in principle, and wrong in practice, as the end result is people dying because organs are not available for transplant despite the explicit consent of the person.

Andy Tookey and National MP Jackie Blue proposed a law change so the decisions of the deceased person can not be over-ridden by a relative but sadly the Government rejected the law change.

So we are at one extreme.  But in the UK, they have proposed, backed by PM Gordon Brown, going to the other extreme – every single person is deemed to consent to being an organ donor, unless they opt out.  They also will still allow a family member to object also. Already Brown is being painted as an organ snatcher.

I think this goes too far, and again it doesn’t recognise the right of individuals to make their own informed choices as to what should happen in the event of their death.

The state should only presume consent for adults in extraordinary circumstances.  In this modern age it is relatively easy to get people to make a decision themselves – NZ does it well through the driver licence system. But one shouldn’t take the absence of a response as consent.

So again my preferred position is no deemed consent, but no veto from relatives – the organs don’t belong to them – the wishes of the deceased should be respected.

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