April 22, 2024

Ignore wishes of relatives of organ donors, says Abbott

Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott says that relatives should not be able to override a person’s wish to donate organs. “So many potential organ donors are lost because grieving relatives have got too much on their minds to say Yes… Once people are on the organ donor list there should be a presumption that their organs are available,” he said. According to figures supplied by the David Hookes Foundation, the wishes of nearly half of registered organ donors are not respected by relatives. Mr Abbott says that reform of the Australian organ donor system is one his main priorities as minister.

Greens Senator Bob Brown, of Tasmania, supports an even more radical proposal for an opt-out system. Doctors would presume that everyone is a potential organ donor unless a person had expressly stated that he did not want to donate. However, University of Tasmania ethicist Christopher Newell said that organ donation should be a gift of life rather than a mandated option.