Clark won’t change organ donation law

The Herald reports:

Hundreds of Kiwis are backing young woman’s petition to make mandatory in New Zealand as she desperately waits for a call telling her there is a match for the organs she needs.

Jessica Manning, 25, who has been has been told she will die within two years if she does not have a double organ transplant, is hoping the petition will start families talking about whether or not they want to be organ donors. More than 700 people had already signed it.

I don’t support it being mandatory, but I do support the wishes of the deceased being respected.

In New Zealand, even if someone indicated on their drivers licence they wanted to be a donor, their family could over-ride the decision.

Manning was pushing for a model which meant people would be presumed to be donors unless they opted out. But even if that did not go ahead, Manning urged the government to invest in more education about being organ donation.

However, Health Minister David Clark said premium consent was not a model he would be pushing and instead supported the Deceased Organ Donation and Transplantation National strategy that focused on the wishes of the donor’s family.

“Even if an individual makes it clear before their death that they wish to donate their organs, in New Zealand that person’s family/whānau have the absolute right to decline donation of their deceased loved one’s organs, and their decision must be respected.”

No they must not be respected. They don’t own the body of the deceased. The wishes of the deceased are what should be respected.

I’d love a law change to reflect this. Maybe something National could do now they are in opposition, and not so captured by the health bureaucracy.

Over the last five years deceased organ donations had doubled with a record 73 in 2017. Those donations resulted in 215 people receiving life saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants compared to just 115 people receiving organs in 2013.

It is great to see this increase, but our overall donation rate is still well below most countries. Australia’s is 60% higher, UK twice as high, and US almost three times as high.

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