The Dom Post editorial:
New Zealand’s organ donation rates are pitifully small. This means many people die every year because they fail to get a life-saving organ transplant. The Government has made some minor reforms, which seem to have helped the rate of tissue rather than organ donations – that is, of eyes, heart valves and skin. The situation remains lamentable. What must be done?
A start would be not allowing families to over-ride the decisions of donors.
I’m a donor. If one day parts of me may assist someone to have a better life, that is a good thing. My only request is that this doesn’t happen too soon!
It seems clear that New Zealand will not lift its rate unless it is prepared to spend a great deal more money. It will have to train many more specialists in an extremely delicate area. More than half of the country’s drivers have defined themselves as organ donors. But, faced with the trauma of dealing with a family member on the brink of death, many relatives refuse to give permission for donation. Changing this will be an expensive and difficult thing. And in the meantime, many people die.
Relatives should not be placed in the position of having to give permission, It is not their permission that matters. It is the permission of the person who agreed to be a donor.