Families of organ donors 'should not be able to veto'

8 August 2012

Families should be stopped from vetoing the wishes of their dead relatives who were organ donors, one expert has said.

It has recently been suggested that patients be kept alive using elective ventilation in order to enable doctors to harvest their organs for donation.

However, David Shaw, honorary lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, has said that there is a much simpler way of increasing organ donations - by ensuring doctors respect the wishes of donors and overrule any vetoes by families.

It was noted that veto by relatives stops at least ten per cent of donors from fulfilling their wishes, despite the fact that there are no legal grounds for overruling the person's desire to donate.

Mr Shaw added that many families often come to regret their decision afterwards.

He contested that doctors who cave in to the family's wishes over the deceased's are "complicit in a family denying its loved one's last chance to affect the world".

The practise, he said, "is unprofessional and lets down the patient and potential recipients of the patients' organs elsewhere".

Posted by Edward Bartel

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