July 4, 2022

Holders of transplant donor cards will have priority in Israel

First country in world

Israel will be the first country in the
world to give priority to people who sign organ donor cards if they
need a transplant. The law comes into effect in January.

Higher priority is also given to first
degree relatives of those who have signed donor cards, to first degree
relatives of those who have died and given organs, and to live donors
of a kidney, liver lobe or lung lobe who have donated for as yet
undesignated recipients.

Israel has a bad record on organ donation.
Only 10% of adults hold donor cards, compared to more than 30% in many
Western countries. The consent rate for organ donation in Israel,
defined as the proportion of actual donors of total number of medically
eligible brain-dead donors, has consistently been 45% during the past
decade, much lower than the 70—90% consent rate in most Western
countries.

Patients in urgent need of a transplant
will continue to receive priority. However, if two such people need the
same organ, the one with a donor card will get it.

A huge public information campaign, in
multiple languages and formats, is underway to educate the Israeli
population on the new law.

Comments from experts on an article in The
Lancet describing the new system were mildly positive: “If Israel’s
initiative of incentives for donation actually makes a difference by
producing more organs for transplantation, it will be instructive. We
wait to see,” said two Canadians. And Dr Paolo Bruzzone, an Italian
transplant surgeon said that donor card priority certainly was a better
system than removing organs without consent from brain-dead patients or
offering financial incentives. ~ Eureka Alert, Dec 16

Michael Cook
Israel
organ donation