Saturday, September 08, 2007

"Legally binding" organ donation?

North Carolina will soon become the 45th state to make signing up to be an organ donor legally binding, according to a story in the Charlotte Observer:

"A new law, which takes effect Oct. 1, makes a driver's decision to be an organ donor, designated by a red heart on a driver's license, legally binding. Gov. Mike Easley signed the bill Friday. In the past, the red heart indicated the driver's intention to be a donor, but it could be overturned by the owner's family. Under the new law, a family member's permission will not be needed to carry out wishes conveyed on driver's licenses."

It will be interesting to see if North Carolina enforces its new law. None of the other 44 states with similar laws enforce them. Families are routinely asked for permission to transplant organs from deceased relatives. These families refuse permission about 50% of the time.

In the United States you can stop a relative's organs from being donated, and you can refuse to donate your own organs, but still remain eligible for an organ transplant should you ever need one. This is not fair, and it's one of the biggest reasons there is such a large organ shortage in the United States.

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1 comment:

Dave Undis said...

You can check the status of the law in your state here: