Mar 7, 2007
Transplant surgeons are condemning a change to the law that would allow them to remove organs from dead people against their families' wishes.
MPs are trying to boost donation rates by introducing a binding register but doctors say it is a waste of money and could see dwindling organ donations drop even further.
Liver transplant specialist Stephen Munn says the registers don't work.
"The solution is not to beat harder at the door of the donor families and say take away your right to say anything about this and grab the organs," Professor Munn says.
Doctors accept the good intention behind the idea of a register but say it's a waste of money.
"We can't even get herceptin but you want to put into practice an organ donation register which we know ahead of time will not work," Munn says.
The issue is pitting people with the same desire - to boost donation rates - against each other.
"I don't believe the medics have the mandate to represent us as the user group, all those people with stuffed kidneys as it were," says kidney transplant recipient Jock Allison.
Only 100 out of the 28,000 New Zealanders who die every year can be donors because organs can only be taken from those who are brain dead and on a ventilator.
But Dr Stephen Streat from Organ Donation NZ says "organ donor registers do not increase, and have the potential to decrease, organ donation numbers".
courtesy of tvnz