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Organ donor veto is 'wrong'

By KELLY GREGOR - Waikato Times | Thursday, 11 January 2007

New Zealand has one of the lowest number of organ donors in the Western world because family members can veto a decision to donate, GiveLife NZ spokesperson Andy Tookey says.

And that's wrong, according to six Waikato people who say a deceased's decision to donate organs should be upheld even if the family does not approve.

Last year the number of organ donations in New Zealand fell to just 25 from the annual average of 40.

Marilyn Curry, a donor, said donating organs gave another person a chance at life.

"I think if you've made a decision, it should be your decision. Family doesn't have the right to say something about that."

Neville Woofe, also a donor, said doctors listening to family members instead of the patient's wishes was political correctness gone mad.

"I don't think it's good. It's up to the individual. We're all too PC on family being able to change a donor's wishes."

Lance Atutahi said if a person's last wish was to save someone else that shouldn't be taken away from them.

Sixteen-year-olds Joel Jiang and Ashley Powell-Phelps said a donor's decision had nothing to do with their family.

Ms Powell-Phelps said it was a personal choice to become a donor. "If that's what you put down on your driver's licence, it's got nothing to do with your family."

Roslyn Rye didn't want her mother to be a donor, but she wouldn't veto her decision.

Ms Rye is not a donor because she doesn't want her eyes or skin used for organ donations but would be happy to see her liver, heart and kidneys used.

Mr Tookey said that in the next year a register on the Health Ministry's website would be set up so people could choose organs they wanted to donate.

But until legislation was passed to favour a patient's wishes over family members, donor numbers would remain low, he said.

courtesy of the Waikato Times - www.stuff.co.nz

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