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THE BIRMINGHAM POST: Donor dilemmas.

While there is no denying there is a life-threatening shortage of organ donors, is it really for the Government to dictate how the public respond to this crisis?

Sir Liam Donaldson's claim that the only solution is to treat all people as organ donors, unless they opt out, is very short-sighted.

It may well create a virtual pool of potential donors, but his proposed scheme would open a veritable can of worms on issues of religion, research and human rights.

Following stolen hearts inquiries at hospitals in Bristol and Liverpool, such incidents would be no longer seen as scandalous but instead as 'routine' research although this could be open to abuse under the suggested scheme.

When a person becomes critically injured or seriously ill, their family's first thoughts are for their welfare and not how their vital organs can be divided up.

If the patient carries a donor card and has spoken to friends and loved ones about their wishes, then that is an honourable but voluntary decision.

But what happens if, when coming to terms with such a trauma, the patient forgets to opt out and surgeons remove healthy organs without the family being told?

Similarly consideration surely must be given to the patient and their relatives religious beliefs, all of which could lead to lengthy and costly legal wrangles.

Then there is always the fear - unlikely as it may seem - of organs being removed by mistake when the patient is in fact medically still alive.

Presumed consent does not carry any weight in law when dealing with issues surrounding sex crimes, so why should it be allowed when it comes to the fate of a person's body after death.

The State has no right, nor should it ever be given the right, to dictate what happens to the human body in health, sickness or death.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 18, 2007
Words:307
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