Written by IainB
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Monday, 17 November 2008

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Wait until it stops first!

A system of presumed consent for organ donation was rejected today after a panel of experts investigated organ donation across the world.

Spain has the highest rate of organ donation in the world, and has been running a presumed consent system for several years now. Britain still uses the informed consent organ donation system, whereby people choose to give their organs away after death, whereas in Spain people have to choose not to give away their organs after death.

"There is a feeling that we would take organs before people die," said Brian Transplant, co-ordinator of Organ Donation UK. "But this is not true, we check for a pulse, and as soon as it's gone, we're in there. There has only been one case when we were too hasty, and that was corrected by teaching the organ collector responsible that a pulse is a beat, and as such vanishes quite regularly. You have to wait for a few seconds before you can say it has actually gone."

With the discovery that just asking bereaved families for their dearly departed ones' organs had a higher success rate than the opt-out system, the expert panel concluded the current system of opt-in organ donation could continue.

"There is a chronic shortage of organs in the UK," said Brian Transplant, "But by increasing the training of vicars to sensitively ask, we can ensure that the nation's supply of organs will not dry up, and everybody who needs to play dramatic music can continue to do so. Hopefully, every church and music hall in the country can have an organ within the next ten years."

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