ODT on organ donation rates

The ODT editorial:

There is no beating about this particular bush. New Zealand’s organ donor rates are appalling. That means people die unnecessarily when they miss out on organ replacement.

That means the quality of life of many suffers when it need not. That means this country is burdened with heavy and unwarranted financial costs.

The rate of 8.1 per million is among the lowest in the world, half of Australia’s, just above a third of the United States’ and less than a quarter of Spain’s, the world leader at 35.1 per million.

The status quo is not acceptable. We need to make changes.

Successive governments have recognised the problem, and funding for New Zealand’s service has increased more than 700% to almost $2 million a year. The impact of this seems to have been negligible. Just throwing more money about is not initiating significant change.

Decisive attitude changes are required. Although about 52% of us say yes on our driver licences to being a donor, it appears this can account for little.

Amid the trauma of death and patients on life support, it seems we are so sensitive to the family’s grief that the matter of organ donation is not sufficiently or appropriately pursued.

I think it traumatises the families more by asking them to make the decision. It would be easier for them to be told that the patient has made a binding decision, and their wishes will be implemented.

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