Medicine and the Law

Increasing the organ transplant rate: some recent UK initiatives

Loane Skene, Paul Nisselle



In both Australia and the UK, the recent revelations about organ retention without consent after postmortem have made their governments anxious to radically increase organ donor rates. Ideas for doing this are given here.

Article Extract

‘I don’t carry a donor card myself because it got nicked along with the rest of the contents of my wallet...It’s possible that the thief ... has himself fallen under a bus and his kidneys are sitting beneath a grateful third party’s ribs masquerading as my own. In any case, I’ll let this column serve as carte blanche for my organs to be used, post mortem, for any purpose the surgeons see fit – feeding the hospital cat included.’

Thus wrote the newspaper columnist, John Diamond, shortly before his death earlier this year after a long battle with cancer which he documented weekly in The Times and also in his best selling book, Because cowards get cancer too. (Apparently he was delighted when this book was adopted as required reading for trainee doctors on how it feels to have cancer.)