Organ Donation: Is the Canadian “Opt-In” Model Working?

October 21, 2013 Hull & Hull LLP Health / Medical Tags: 0 Comments


Last year at this time Prince Edward Island was debating whether to initiate a plan that had the potential to automatically transform PEI’s 140,000 residents into automatic organ donors, unless they “opted-out”. This plan gained momentum when it became clear that there was an organ shortage and the province was desperately in need of donors.

This month a very interesting comment in the National Post has sparked discussion amongst Ontarians regarding this important issue and the contrasting models of “opting-in and “opting-out”.

There are two main methods for determining voluntary consent: “opt in” (only those who have given explicit voluntary consent are donors) and “opt out”(anyone who has not refused is a donor).

The “opt-out” model presumes consent of organ donation and all citizens are automatically considered donors, unless they specifically register to opt-out.

Opt-out models are widespread across Europe and countries such as Spain, Portugal and Belgium have one of the highest rates of organ transplants.

According to The Canadian Transplant Society, over 90% of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but less than 25% have made plans to donate. The comment in the National Post discusses the option of shifting the current opt-in model, as the numbers of organ donation remain stagnant and nearly 1,500 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Organ and Tissue donation is an important cause that has the ability to save many lives. According to the Trillium Gift of Life, one donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance as many as 75 others through tissue donation.

Thank you for reading.

Ian M. Hull

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