Do We Need to Change the Legislation to a System of Presumed Consent to Address Organ Shortage?
Medicine, science, and the law 2010 Apr; 50(2): 84-94
Organ transplantation significantly improves the health, quality of life and life-expectancy of people whose organs have failed. Most patients in the UK cannot enjoy the benefits of a transplant because of an extreme shortage of organs. This paper demonstrates the magnitude of the problem of organ shortage and identifies possible causes. The current UK legislation regarding consent to organ transplantation is analysed and compared with other jurisdictions. The hypothesis of changing the legislation to a system of presumed consent in order to address the organ shortage is explored. The main issues surrounding a change in the legislation are considered, and the effects on society and the individual are discussed. This paper argues that there is not enough convincing evidence to support a change in the legislation to a system of presumed consent at this time. Instead, an increase in organ donations could be achieved by improving the effectiveness of the current system of organ donation, and by improving the public's awareness and understanding of organ transplantation issues.
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Is Presumed Consent the Answer to the Organ Shortage? Mattingly, Susan S.; Anderson, Robert E.; Moller, David Wendell; Stevenson, Robert E. (1984-12)