A New South Wales government proposal to prevent families from overturning their deceased relatives’ wishes on organ donation has garnered mixed reactions. Some lauded the government for trying to tackle the low transplant rate, others expressed concern that denying the wishes of family members could be fruitless. A government discussion paper released on Tuesday revealed about 50% of potential organ donors in NSW were vetoed by family members when their loved ones died.
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said a low donation rate is partly due to families using their power of veto over a loved one’s request to donate organs. “Perhaps it is time to look at ensuring patients have the final say,” Ms Skinner told reporters at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. NSW’s donation rate was only 12.4 people per million, compared with 19.7 per million in Tasmania.
Chris Thomas, of advocacy group Transplant Australia, said the individual’s wishes to donate organs should be respected. “In the instances where donors have made an informed decision and then the family comes and overrules it, that's a tragedy when you've got 1600 people waiting for a life-saving transplant,” Mr Thomas told AAP. ~ Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 6