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Dying for an organ

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

I second John Grima’s proposal (‘Organ transplants’, August 14).

Locally, organs of dead people go to waste unless s/he had previously actively registered as a donor or the heirs donate the organs. The suggestion that all deceased are considered by law as having given their tacit consent is of enormous benefit to those waiting for and dying because of a lack of organ.

Introducing the automatic opt-in system (where everybody is deemed to have consented to organ donation and to register if they disagree) has long been discussed in the UK, definitely since the mid-1980s. In Malta, correspondence exists to this effect (‘Opt out system in organ transplants’, Times of Malta, November 20, 1994; ‘Organ transplants’, The Malta Independent Jauary 1, 1995).

About 25 years have passed. How many lives have been lost and quality of life deteriorated due to the non-implementation of this system? If adopted, the individual would be able to decide to opt out and the heirs would not have an extra burden to decide.

It is an act of love that will affirm the donor’s generosity.

My suggestion is a humane one : I am not competent to discuss medical aspects. I do not know the practical overall medical benefit nor how it would be put into practice from a medical perspective. However, it has been taken up in other countries (including Italy, in 1995) and I do not see why it should not be taken up here.

Adopting this system would be most welcome to many. I do not see any ill-effect. Nor do I see any difficulty, morally or ethically, in adopting it.

Therefore, my appeal to the Minister of Health, a respected medical practitioner and a competent administrator, is to implement this system in the shortest time possible. This will be a permanent feather in his cap for which he would be gratefully and historically remembered.

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