Sunday, January 13, 2008

A step in the right direction

From The Scotsman:

Gordon Brown has thrown his weight behind a move to allow hospitals to take organs from dead patients without explicit consent.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister says that such a facility would save thousands of lives and that he hopes such a system can start this year.

The proposals would mean consent for organ donation after death would be automatically presumed, unless individuals had opted out of the national register or family members objected.

But patients' groups said that they were "totally opposed" to Mr Brown's plan, saying that it would take away patients' rights over their own bodies.

There are more than 8,000 patients waiting for an organ donation and more than 1,000 a year die without receiving the organ that could save their lives.

This is good news for people in the UK who need organ transplants. No trampling on anyone's rights is taking place because anyone who doesn't wish to donate can opt out. I think it is a mistake to allow family members to stop the process by objecting however. The fact is that more often than not when a person who has lost a loved one is asked if they will donate that persons organs for transplant they will say no. Then when asked a year later, after they have had a chance to work through the grief of losing someone they cared for, they will say that they wish that they had gone ahead and donated their organs. That way their loved one could have saved a life and part of them could have lived on.

Of course the best option would be to allow the free market to work by legalizing the buying and selling of body parts.