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Opt-out system only way to improve organ donation rates, say experts

Published on 05/05/2010
An opt-out system for organ donation is the only way to significantly increase the number of transplants made each year in the UK, it has been claimed.

Currently, only those who register can have their organs donated. But under an opt-out system, it would be assumed that consent to take organs has been given unless otherwise stated.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Sheila Bird from the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge and John Harris from the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation in Manchester, said that the benefits of this approach have been previously underestimated.

They calculated that if an opt-out system had been used in the UK for the past ten years, 2,880 extra organs would have been made available for transplants during this time.

"Presumed consent, even allowing for overrule by relatives, should ultimately cut costs, add life, and save bereaved families from anxious, as well as generous, deliberation in extremis," the study said.

Between April 2008 and March last year, 3,513 organ transplants were carried out using organs from 1,853 donors and saving a total of 977 lives.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Medical
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