Leading transplant surgeons have published an article in The Lancet calling upon governments to adopt a “new paradigm of self-sufficiency” so that patients stop seeking “ illegal and unethical organ transplants in remote parts of the world but return home for complicated medical care”. Every year, about 100,000 patients have organ transplants, but many more are on waiting lists. Affluent patients become impatient, go abroad and buy organs on the black market.
Obviously many countries cannot provide comprehensive transplant services, making regional cooperation necessary so that patients have access to the organs of deceased donors. The authors say that quite a bit of legislation has to change, from authorising organisations to recover organs to setting down a legal definition of “death”.
Cultural change is also needed to promote donation and prevent discrimination:
“The underprivileged and poor should not be the main or sole source of organs, and they should benefit equally from the opportunity of transplantation… Thus, national programmes of deceased donation must promote public understanding of the shared benefit to be derived and shared responsibility to enable transplantation of organs from deceased donors. If a person can be an organ recipient, he or she should also be able to be give an organ, and vice versa. Without this understanding, non-consent to donate organs after death on a cultural basis becomes illogical (and hypocritical) if members of the same community receive organs from deceased donors in foreign countries.” ~ The Lancet, Oct 15
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