Organ donors’ pledges to be upheld by law

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 09 Oct 2007

Families may not object to organ donation pledgeView Video 

KUALA LUMPUR: Family members may have to honour a donor’s pledge to give away their organs to save lives. 

The Health Ministry is looking at making amendments to various legislations so that parents and relatives cannot object to the pledge made by an individual of legal age. 

“We have to come up with this unfortunately because we feel the time has come to look into it. 

“The problem that we face is when relatives and parents object to organ donation.  

“They (organ donors) pledge without informing their parents and relatives. So, when it comes to the real harvesting or procurement, there is a problem,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek. 

He said amendments to the Human Tissue Act and Medical Act to compel fam 

ily members to honour a donor's organ pledge would only be made if the majority of public agreed to it. 

Dr Chua said there was still a lot of fear over organ donation because of religious and cultural dimensions.  

Reiterating that all religions in Malaysia allowed it, he said, there had been over 100,000 pledges up to June this year but not all organs could be harvested immediately. 

Dr Chua was speaking to reporters at the National Heart Institute after visiting 14-year old Tee Hui Yi, who on Friday underwent a second operation to receive a heart from a 20-year-old mechanic, declared brain dead after an accident in Johor Baru. 

A day earlier, Hui Yi received a heart from a 15-year-old boy diagnosed as brain dead but soon after the operation her body started rejecting it. 

In 2002, 30 organs and tissues were recovered from various cases (five cases were from pledges). 

In 2003, there were 25 recoveries (six), and in subsequent years there were 16 (two), 13 (three) and 25 (one). Until May this year there were seven (three). Some 1,200 kidneys, 700 corneas, 450 hearts and 200 livers are needed annually to save lives in Malaysia. 

Dr Chua said it was the responsibility of the attending doctor to inform the next-of-kin of patients certified brain dead that they could donate the organs. (There is now no provision to compel the doctors to inform the families of the donation.) 

Dr Chua said the ministry would step up its organ donation campaign to maintain the interest generated from Hui Yi's case.  

Related Stories:Hui Yi trying to talk 

Earlier Stories:Many make pledges at centre Parents of organ donor laud renewed interest Wave of organ donations after story Moving hearts Transplant survivor Yeow’s is a hot shuttler 

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