Publicatie datum

Consent systems for post mortem organ donation in Europe.

Gevers, S., Janssen, A., Friele, R. Consent systems for post mortem organ donation in Europe. European Journal of Health Law: 2004, 11(2), 175-186
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In the Netherlands, like in many other European countries, there is a considerable shortage of vital organs (hearts, kidneys etc.) for transplantation purposes. While living organ donation is of increasing importance as an alternative source for at least some organs (such as kidneys), the supply is still largely on public authorities, hospitals and other parties involved to do everything to improve on cadaveric organ donation. However, continuing efforts in the field of general information of the public, education of professionals, and organisational measures at hospital level have had so far no or little effect on the number of transplantable organs. Therefore, the question has been raised whether the consent system for post mortal organ removal (that has been laid down in the Organ Donation Act of 1998) should be changed. To answer that question an extensive study has been carried out, including a survey of attitudes of the Dutch population on organ donation, an analysis of the practice of organ retrieval in Dutch hospitals, as well as an international comparison of donation rates in order to identify the relative importance of the consent systems (as a factor influencing the availability of organs). The study also included a comparative analysis of the consent systems in ten European countries. The aim of that part of the study was not only to delineate the similarities and differences between the various systems, but also to help in answering the question whether the change from an opt in to an opt out system could raise the number of cadaveric organ donations. In this article, we present the main results of that comparative part of the study. (aut.ref.)