Before the presumed consent of organ donation became law in Wales there was much discussion on how the law would work. I remember having conversations with people, and reading on official websites that, while the law would allow for doctors to take organs from those who had not opted out, they would still consult with the family.
I had many misgivings at the time because this familial conversation had no legal protection to it. I was worried that at some future date the authorities could say “well, we’re not going to ask you if your happy for us to take x’s organs – we’re going to take them anyway because we have presumed consent from the law.”
On this matter, the website for Organ Donation Wales said that families could stop a donation if the deceased had not wanted to give his or her organs, but had not yet found time to opt out. This is taken from the Organ Donation Wales website:
However, this morning the BBC News has published an article which says this polite (but not legally protected conversation) will now be abandoned. The BBC quotes the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) head Sally Johnson as saying that the NHSBT will no longer seek the consent of families formally, to make such “overrides” more exceptional. She’s quoted as saying “We are taking a tougher approach – but also a more honest approach. My nurses are speaking for the person who has died.” You can read the article here.
I hate to say it… but I told you so.