EU plans to boost organ donor numbers
With region-wide card and 24/7 hotline
The European Parliament is calling for a Europe-wide donor card in order to reduce the shortage of organs available for transplant.
The region-wide card would supplement existing national systems. There will also be a 24-hour telephone hotline, which sounds good, but it will need to be multi-lingual, and thus expensive, and it's hard to see under what circumstances someone will need donorship advice at 3am.
The report, which was adopted with 653 votes in favour, 14 against, and 16 abstentions, does identify a risk of organ trafficking and "transplant tourism", but stops short of quantifying that risk as "Europol claims that there are no documented cases".
Reports from the Council of Europe and the World Health Organisation apparently do show evidence of such business taking place, prompting the House to ask Europol to "improve monitoring of cases of organ trafficking and draw the necessary conclusion".
Of course, the best way to stop organ trafficking would be to have sufficient organs available, and the best way to achieve that (short of moving to an opt-out system) is to inform people of the process and get them to tell relatives their wishes.
In the UK, the NHS runs an organ donor registration site, and hands out balloons at hospitals to get people to sign up. Balloons and posters might seem trivial, but one can't help wondering if that's a more effective approach than debates in Brussels. ®
The MEPs have volunteered to donate their brains...
...which are highly sought after since they are hardly ever used !! However, recent studies have found an undesirable side effect that the recipients have been padding their expenses after receiving the organ(s) !! Furthermore, they found a disturbing tendency among the recipients to be economical with the truth !!
.. seems a good place to start harvesting human-like organs, and as we don't do brain transplants yet no one human would be affected if we just took everything we found there. ;)
"organs and tissues for transplantation don't last that long after the clinical death of the host and that this opens up a very short window of opportunity for the transplantation procedure."
That's true, which is why they are not taken from the donor (who is on life support) until the last possible moment. Life support gives you a bigger window.
"How does one address things like tissue rejection testing with such little time?"
You don't. I believe that transplants match donor/recipient blood type only, not the myriad of other tissue types: you'd never get a match if you tried to do that. Anti-rejection drugs are used to make imperfect tissue matches work.
"Right now, family members are allowed to override a person's wishes that their organs be transplanted. This is wrong."
I agree it is "wrong", but it is perfectly understandable in the circumstances. It is probably best addressed by having more transplant coordinators (as in Spain) rather than telling devastated relatives that you are going to take their loved one's organs regardless of their wishes.