England organ donation ‘DEEMED CONSENT’ is likely to FAIL in practice and thousands more will needlessly die – our Government needs to fix it NOW?

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Those of us who actually care about saving the lives of those blighted people in our midst who are desperately waiting for an organ transplant had our spirits lifted a year ago at the Tory Conference when our Prime Minister Theresa May backed the change in the Law to introduce organ donation in England by deemed consent (known also as ‘opt-out law’) – she admitted that 500 people had died in 2016 while waiting for a heart, lungs, kidney or liver transplants.

Now, some 24 enlightened European countries already have some form of presumed consent system including Spain, Belgium, Austria, France, and Wales, [with that yielding high donor rates in the first three].

The previous attempt here for presumed consent ten years ago by a Private Members bill, failed as it was without government support, but this time round the new bill has that essential backing and it should go through ‘eventually’ {barring another General Election, eh?].

The only upset is that it won’t clear the Commons procedures until the end of this month (October) with its Report & 3rd Reading stages and even then, it has to go through the similar long procedure in the Lords before return to MPs.

Realistically, we are looking at Spring 2020 before any new law is enacted – in all that time during its three years gestation more thousands of men, women, and children will have unnecessarily died because no organ was available or the right donor was not found

However, it is an initiative that will doubtlessly fail unless the government act NOW to solve the existing inherent problems with organ availability, don’t you think?

Make no mistake about it, this law change will not only better ‘reflect’ the views of the general public and give ‘hope’ to those currently waiting for a transplant they so desperately need, but it could be the breakthrough that ‘saves’ countless innocent lives, while ‘knowing’ that a loved-one’s organ will be living-on in another person giving them life, can offer some future ‘comfort’ in their loss for the parents, spouses, partners and families of a child or adult lost before their time.

The point is that there are 6,000 or more people in England on the transplant waiting list awaiting an organ transplant, while that figure is rising at a faster rate than the numbers of people who either receive a transplant or die waiting – although since April this year only some 2000 people in the UK received donated organs, but while the vast majority of the public backs organ donation, only 35% have actually recorded their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

The major problem that organ donation has faced is not solely related to getting names on the register, is it? No, the first problem is that the current law does NOT allow the person’s wishes regarding the transplant of their organs to be heeded, so a person’s specific enrolment on the Register or carrying of a Donor Card doesn’t constitute a legal binding document, so there is no legal standing or impact for of a person making that decision, is there?

You see, being a registered donor is not treated like a person’s Will, which of course can and will be enforced, so what happens in reality is that distressed next-of-kin in a time of immediate personal turmoil when their loved one is dying or just dead, are allowed to ‘overrule’ a person’s commitment to allow transplants and so they reverse the decision of their deceased relative, hence when emotions having taken-over, they refuse permission for organs to be taken. If people were actually ‘thinking straight’ at the time they would agree to donate organs, if that was the declared wish of the deceased, surely?

The removal of a healthy organ for transplant is time critical, so there is no second chance opportunity for measured reflection the next day, is there?

That means that LESS THAN HALF of the organs that ‘ought’ to be available for transfer in accordance with a person wishes, ‘actually’ become available – simply because consent is unreasonably withheld through misplaced emotion.

This basic problem is NOT going to go away with the new law, is it? No, so it HAS to be solved by the Government in the new law, considering that the evidence so far in Wales, which already has such a law as of December 2015, is that the hoped-for spike in organ availability just didn’t happen as the consent-veto issue prevailed. The simplest way of dealing with the problem is to include a clause in the new Bill to remove the right of relatives to overturn the decision of somebody who has either put their name on the Register or carries a Donor Card and allow a veto only when deemed consent is involved.

Some people of the ‘do-gooder’ liberal brigade are of course railing against the opt-out law, like for example an over-educated village idiot columnist of the Sunday Telegraph, who in one of his diatribes some months ago, denigrated it on the basis that organ donation should always be a ‘gift’ – ignoring the indisputable fact that the deceased isn’t in any position to make such a gift (and when the relatives can and do scotch it anyway), while the only person who ’can’ actually make such an organ gift is a living person [and each year in the UK more than 1000 of these generous brave healthy people do so – most commonly a kidney (as we have two), but sometimes liver (‘part’) as it can regenerate itself within 6 months in both the donor and the recipient.

In the UK it is a punishable legal requirement for ALL individuals to register to vote as well as for every householder to also to annually respond to a household enquiry form that checks the right people are registered to vote. Surely it should therefore be quite simple for the law to be changed so that ALL competent adult individuals register their decision on organ transplant (Opt-In, Opt-Out, Deemed-Consent), and that to be legally enforceable to prevent it being overridden by well-meaning but misguided relatives, wouldn’t you think?

It is worth remembering that while relatives may be over-sensitive about invasion of the body, no one has any say if a Coroner decides on the need for an autopsy because that is the law – and you can’t get more invasive than that, can you? Also, it is the law that the dead person must be buried or cremated – either way, their reusable organs will simply rot away or be incinerated – what a waste when these organs can save someone’s life and where is human compassion here?

 

[The first answer to organ donation has to be that the deceased person’s wishes should be respected and not overridden by their next of kin – that is what the law need to be NOW, and as the population become more accustomed to transplants, they will gain widespread acceptance as a common-sense ‘normal’ event]

 

 

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