Donor Doctor Validates Deaths on the Waiting List
21 March 2007
GiveLife New Zealand
Organ Donor Doctor Validates Deaths on the Waiting List
A senior doctor involved in organ donation caused controversy today when he appeared before Parliaments Health Select Committee hearing evidence on proposed changes to the organ donor system.
Dr.Peter Hicks who is the Vice President of the Intensive Care Society and Chairman of New Zealand's Organ Donation Advisory Board in his written statement to the committee said: 'The fact that other people may die does not validate efforts to increase the number of donations." He went on to say that this "would be a high cost to families. It is easy being the person that dies, it is much harder to be the person that lives with the death afterwards.
Further into his submission Dr.Hicks stated "We actively control admissions and restrict admissions where there is no possibility of recovery."
Andy Tookey of GiveLife NZ was astounded by his comments. "Is Dr.Hicks saying that even if they have empty beds in ICU units that they will not put a potential donor in there because the donor has no chance of survival, what about all the lives that the donor wanted to save, and could save if that person was admitted? I thought it was a doctors' job to save lives?"
"His other comment of the fact that other people may die does not validate efforts to increase the number of donations indicates a total lack of respect for the two most important people in this process, the wishes of the donor and the lives of those the donor wanted to save." said Mr.Tookey.
Dr.Hicks in his submission went on further to say: "There are a number of situations where organ donation may be unacceptable to the family." in one of his examples he cites such as when"a person has assaulted their partner who is now brain dead."
Mr.Tookey believes this to be a bizarre situation. "Here we have a situation where someone murders their partner, then the doctors go and ask the murderer for permission for their victim to be a donor! The victim may have already given permission to be a donor and yet the murderer has a second chance to attack their victim by vetoing their wishes and even causing more deaths along the line due to making organs that were once available no longer so."
Dr. Hicks concluded in his submission that the Bill currently before the Select Committee has "no merit, is unbalanced, and will not increase donor numbers."
"Judging by the many outrageous statements from someone who is the Chair of the Organ Donor Advisory Committee it no longer surprises me that we are pretty much the worst in the world for the number of donors we have. I suggest it's not the bill that's "unbalanced" but somewhere closer to home ." said Mr.Tookey.
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