Australian doctors will no longer have to seek explicit approval from relatives of a person who has agreed to be an organ donor. The decision to reverse “the onus of permission” will significantly increase the number of organs available for transplant, says Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott. However, relatives will still be able to veto a loved one’s wishes.
The nation’s health ministers agreed on a uniform standard for organ donations at their tri-yearly conference. Currently doctors need relatives’ permission even if a person has listed his or her name on the organ donor register. Almost half of the people on the register take their organs to the grave because relatives intervene. Its transplant surgeons are highly regarded, but Australia has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the developed world.
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