The trouble with presumed consent

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

hospital surgeryRegarding organ donation, an author and practicing attorney advises the U.S. to not follow the steps of the United Kingdom.

A new law calling for presumed consent has gone into effect in the U.K. It means if there is no record of whether a person is a donor, then doctors presume the patient has consented to have his or her organs harvested for transplant.

"The reason given for it is that there is such a need for organs for transplant, and that's true," responds Rita Marker, an attorney and head of the Patient Rights Council. "However, the effect of this is that the state owns your body after you're dead, or, as is the case, very near death."

She adds that there is a slower attempt to revive organ donors than there is for people who are not organ donors in some cases. Moreover, most organs can be obtained after a person's death; a heart donor must still be alive when the organ is harvested, though.

Marker, Rita (Patents Rights Council)"This can be very, very, very problematic," Marker insists. "While the consent to donate organs after a person is truly dead is something that is a very good thing to do, to put it on one's driver’s license is an exceptionally dangerous thing to do."

Measures like this are why it is important for each individual to have his or her wishes in official writing and readily available to doctors and hospitals. An agent should also be appointed to make tough decisions in case the patient is not able.

No American state has presumed consent law, but not for lack of trying. So Marker concludes that the public needs to be aware and prepared to fight against the effort to see it employed in the states.

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