Do you carry a donor card? If so, and you live in Israel, come 2011 that same card will give you priority access to an organ transplant. And, not only you but your partner and close relatives will also have priority benefits should they need it.
How come? Well, Israel has become the first country to give donor carriers a legal right to priority treatment should require an organ transplant. The new law is intended to boost donation rates in Israel which have been called ‘grim’ by Prof. Jacob Lavee who is an advocate of the reform.
Organ donation rates vary greatly around the globe. Spain has the highest organ donation rate at 34 deceased donors per million population. Australia instead lags with just 12 deceased donors per million. Only 10% of Israels carry a donor card compared with 1 in 4 in the UK.
According to the Israeli points system if a patient requires an urgent transplant due to their condition, they will get priority but…if two people are in the situation and and equally suitable for a donated organ, the donor card wins out.
The British Medical Association and the British Heart Foundation underlined that the system needed to remain that donated organs are available based on clinical need. Dr. Vivienne Nathanson from the BMA said “Once you start prioritising certain groups, for example those that sign up to the organ register, patients who are really sick and in danger of dying if they don’t receive an organ may end up being pushed to the back of the queue”.
Another system that some countries use including Spain, Belgium and Norway is the so called ‘opt-out’ or ‘presumed consent’ instead of ‘opt-in’. With this process people need to to specifically state that they did not want their organs used for transplants, otherwise consent would be presumed.
What are your thoughts on organ donation? Should you get priority organ transplant treatment if you carry a donor card?