Friday 21 February 2020

Families block one in five organ donations, ignoring deceased wishes

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Relatives are stopping almost one in five organ donations, even though the person who has died gave permission for their organs to be used, according to new figures from the Dutch transplant foundation.

Last year, 250 people donated one or more organs after their death, a drop of 8% on 2018. But this is within the normal variation in donations, foundation director Bernadette Haase said.

However, fact that relatives had refused to allow donations in 19% of cases is a ‘worrying development’ and without clear explanation, Haase said.

In 2018, 12% of relatives refused to allow organs to be donated, even though the deceased had made their wishes clear in the organ donation register.

Some 1,271 people are now on the waiting list for an organ, a rise of 6% on a year ago. MPs are due to debate organ donation on Wednesday.

The new organ donation legislation, which came into effect last July, set up a ‘yes unless’ register, which includes everyone who has not expressly said they do not wish to donate their organs.

The law does give families the option of intervening. VVD parliamentarian Ockje Tellegen told the AD that it would appear many people have not yet made their personal position known, and that this may make the issue more difficult for relatives who are confronted with the death of a loved-one.

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