If only they’d asked

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.


This post was prompted by posts on harvesting organs from live donors : the moral case for kidney markets at Offsetting Behaviour and  organ recitals at Macdoctor.

And Kathryn Ryan discussed the issue with transplat anthropoligist  Lesley Sharp and Pacific correspondent Make Field on Nine to Noon this morning.

2 Responses to If only they’d asked

  1. Chad C Mulligan says:

    I always liked Singapore’s organ donation policy. It’s ‘Opt out’ rather than ‘Opt in’.


  2. Andy Tookey says:

    I wrote an article a while ago arguing why registered donors should get priority of those who refuse to be donors should both need a transplant.

    read the article here: http://www.lifesharers.org.nz/presscoverage/perspective.jpg

    If you agree with it then sign up to LifeSharers. It’s Free and it could save your life…


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