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Canada New law would make Albertans organ donors unless they opt out

10:35  12 november  2019
10:35  12 november  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Opt - out organ donation programs have been associated with higher donation rates in some European countries. Albertans currently have to opt -in as organ donors . Under Bill 205, Alberta would transition to an opt - out program — where adults are presumed organ donors unless they

The new system will now be introduced after a consultation showed the public are overwhelmingly in favour of organ donation , but only a minority have As many as 700 lives a year will be saved by new organ donation laws which will presume everyone is a donor unless they explicitly opt - out , the

  New law would make Albertans organ donors unless they opt out © ThitareeSarmkasat\Getty

Every adult in Alberta could automatically become an organ and tissue donor if a new private member's bill is passed in the legislature.

The Human Tissue and Organ Donation (Presumed Consent) Amendment Act passed first reading on Wednesday after it was presented by MLA Matthew Jones.

Albertans currently have to opt-in as an organ donor.

Under Bill 205, Alberta would transition to an opt-out program — where adults are presumed organ donors unless they otherwise refuse.

A physician is still expected to confirm the person's wishes with next of kin, who ultimately have the final say.

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Thanks to a new law , which was given the seal of approval by the Queen on Friday, people Under the legislation, which applies only to England, adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded Royal assent is when the Queen formally agrees to make a Bill into a law .

The new law is meant to help fix a shortage in organ donations in the Netherlands. But "presumed consent" is unlikely to take hold in the United States, according to Paschke. " Laws would have to change in every state, and the people that it would appeal to are people who are already donation

Several surveys have suggested more than 80 per cent of Canadians are willing to donate their organs.

Jones said Friday only 19 per cent of Albertans are registered donors.

"It just seems that the opt-in system is not as suited to Canadians as an opt-out system," Jones said.

"I would hope that this bill is a catalyst for conversations, education and future changes to our system to enhance organ donation in Alberta."

Nova Scotia became the first North American jurisdiction to pass a presumed consent law in April, joining several European countries, including Spain, Austria and Belgium.

Research suggests presumed consent laws are associated with a 25 per cent increase in donation rates.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said his office had no part in drafting the bill. UCP members are expected to have a free vote on the bill.

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Organ donation is when someone gives an organ to help someone who needs a transplant. There is no age limit on being a donor , but a few medical conditions The new rules mean that everyone over 18 will donate their organs for transplant when they die, unless they actively register their wish not to.

A new opt - out system for organ donation will be in place by 2020 in England, if Parliament approves "Max's Law ". Under the plans detailed by ministers, adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be. The government said it would save up

"Presumed consent is not part of my department's current plans, but I'll respect the views of my colleagues. If the House passes a bill, I'll work to implement it," Shandro said in a statement to CBC News on Thursday.

Opt-out organ donation programs have been associated with higher donation rates in some European countries. Now, a UCP MLA wants Alberta to follow suit.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Opt-out organ donation programs have been associated with higher donation rates in some European countries. Now, a UCP MLA wants Alberta to follow suit. Shandro said that while the number of Alberta organ donations have increased in recent years, the province needs to do more to bolster rates.

"It's an important topic and I look forward to the discussion in the House and the public," he said.

'It's the greatest thing'

Memory Fedoruk is one of roughly 650 people on the organ transplant waitlist in Alberta.

She has been on the list since March 2014, living on dialysis until she is cleared for a kidney transplant. She said doctors told her she'd be waiting for four to five years.

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Thousands of Europeans die each year waiting for an organ transplant. Tens of thousands are on waiting lists across the EU, but there is a chronic shortage of donors to meet that demand. Could switching to an ‘ opt -in’ system help?

Organ donors who go on to donate after death has been confirmed by circulatory criteria will have been treated for some time on an intensive care unit, but their injuries will be such that Within an opt out system the decision about whether or not you choose to donate your organs is still yours to make .

An opt-out organ donation program would be life changing for thousands of Albertans, Fedoruk said.

"I think it's the greatest thing, obviously," Fedoruk said. "There's so many people that don't even think about it and of course have not made the effort to say, 'yes I want to be a donor.'"

About half of the people on Alberta's waitlist need a kidney transplant.

The five-year survival rate for a person on dialysis is roughly 44 per cent, according to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

But that number jumps to upwards of 80 per cent for people with a kidney transplant.

Fedoruk expects the legislation will get people talking about organ donation.

"The more people that talk about it, the more people are aware of the options," she said.

Only about one per cent of deaths in Canada result in a potential organ donor.

One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives, and improve the quality of life of up to 75 people, according to the Government of Canada.

Spain, an early adopter of presumed consent in 1979, has the highest organ donation rates in the world — roughly 48 donors per million people. Alberta's rate is 19 donors per million.

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The number of organ donors in Wales will increase by about a quarter under a change to the law , the Welsh government estimates. It published legislation on Monday to introduce the UK's first opt - out organ donation system. People will be deemed to have consented to becoming donors unless they

New law would make Albertans organ donors unless they opt out | CBC News by experimentalaircraft in canada. I don’t want my organs that I’ve worked my whole life caring for to go to some alcoholic druggie who has ruined theirs to just get mine and ruin again.

Last year, 23 people died while waiting for an organ transplant in Alberta.

'Not something to rush into'

Shandro said Thursday he is still undecided how he'll vote on the bill.

"It's new in Canada and it's not something to rush into," he said in the emailed statement.

It's essential the government maintains confidence in the organ donation system, while respecting the deeply personal decision families have to make, Shandro said.

"Presumed consent could help increase donations, but it could also raise objections from people who might feel coerced," Shandro said.

It's new in Canada and it's not something to rush into. - Tyler Shandro, Alberta Minister of Health

Manuel Esconto, a local representative of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, said presumed consent could generate an unintended backlash, with people refusing to consent because they perceive the law as an attempt to violate their autonomy.

"[The Kidney Foundation of Canada] certainly supports an opt-out system, but not on it's own," Esconto said. "It has to be part of a bigger comprehensive strategy to improve organ donation and transplant rates."

As part of the bill, there's a two-year implementation delay for the province to transition to an opt-out system, Jones said. He said that time would also be used to increase education, introduce organ donation teams in hospitals and improve the donation registry.

The new bill requires a medical practitioner to refer information about a potential organ donor to a donation organization, or what's called mandatory referral.

It's one of the changes the Kidney Foundation called for, along with real-time audits of the organ donation system to determine how each case is handled.

Under the new bill, presumed consent would not apply to people under 18 years old or who have not lived in Alberta for a year before their death.

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