New Zealand has a low rate of organ donation for a variety of reasons, one of which may be over-sensitivity with next of kin.
Both our sons died in hospital but no-one mentioned organ donation.
It’s possible that wouldn’t have been appropriate. But although Tom and Dan had brain disorders a raft of tests in an attempt to diagnose the cause had established their physical health was fine.
The paediatricians caring for them had discussed the probability of them dying with us and if they’d asked us about organ donation we’d probably have agreed.
I can understand the sensitivity round this issue. Telling parents their baby is likely to die is hard enough without complicating matters with a discussion on organ donation.
But we would have been happy to know that the body bits which were no longer needed by our sons could have improved the quality of life for others.
If only they’d asked.
And Kathryn Ryan discussed the issue with transplat anthropoligist Lesley Sharp and Pacific correspondent Make Field on Nine to Noon this morning.