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Organ Donor Service: Saving Lives or Losing them?

***MEDIA RELEASE***
 
GiveLife NZ
10 March 2008
 
Organ Donor Service: Saving Lives or Losing them?
 
The dysfunctional NZ Organ Donor Service is getting more and more bizarre, with its latest move to deny a mother the chance to save her childs life by donating part of her liver to her.
 
The reason given that the mother is too young at age 18 and has to be aged 21 under the rules defined by the service are not only wrong but illegal says Andy Tookey of Organ Donor lobby group GiveLife NZ.
 
"Jackie Blue MP last year introduced a Private Members Bill calling for a legally binding organ donor register for those aged over 18. A report came back from the Attorney General stating that the bill had to be amended to age 16 to comply with international practice. This makes a mockery of the claim of needing to be age 21. Who decided this age and why when all other legal decisions can be made at age 18 or younger?" said Mr. Tookey.
 
 A Western Bay woman's bid to be a live donor has also been turned down because she is not "emotionally attached" to the child. According to reports in today's Bay of Plenty Times.
 
"This is equally bizarre" says Tookey. "There are many people who have donated kidneys to people they have never even met let alone have any "emotional attachment," why would you need to be emotionally attached because it is part of a liver and not a kidney?"
 
"This woman has offered to save a child's life and has been rejected. Should we not save someone who is drowning or in a car accident because we are not 'emotionally attached?"
 
An advisory board was established with the objective of advising the Organ Donor Service on how to improve our world's lowest organ donor rates. The Chairman of this board appeared in front of Parliaments' Health Select Committee and said: "The fact that people are dying on the waiting list does not validate efforts to try and improve the organ donor rate."
 
"The Minister of Health should understand that there is no public confidence in this dysfunctional unit and act urgently to restore some credibility by replacing the dinosaurs within it.
The Organ Donor Service has consistently challenged Parliament by saying they would ignore any changes in the law. Well now it is time for the Minister to accept that challenge."
 
If this child dies because of the self imposed rules that have been cited then those medical staff who made this decision will be guilty of manslaughter at the very least and I would certainly be keen to lay private charge against those involved.
 
Wanganui Mayor and Radio Live Presenter Michael Laws echoed those sentiments on air this morning and said he would support the laying of murder charges if the child died.
 
GiveLife NZ will soon be launching a new initative to improve the organ donor rate. This initative will bypass interference from Ministry of Health officials and give the decision making back to the individual. The project is currently under wraps. a launch date will be announced soon.
Link to Bay of Plenty Times Article:
http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3766092&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=&thesecondsubsection=
 
ends



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