# Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ontario Organ Donation

Organ donation is a topic that most Ontario residents think about briefly when renewing their driver’s licenses. It is however, becoming an increasingly controversial topic, with new legislation being proposed in order to increase the amount of donors. With medical technology constantly advancing, organ transplants are saving the lives of people who would otherwise be facing a very bleak future.

A private member’s bill has recently been introduced by New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos, with the intent of establishing new “presumed consent” rules. This new bill, if passed, would make organ donations automatic unless a patient had already refused permission.  Another bill, introduced by Conservative Frank Klees, wants to force every eligible Ontario citizen to respond yes, no, or undecided about their organ donation intentions. While both MPP’s have differing opinions on how to increase organ donations, both agree that changes need to occur in order to reach this goal. Currently, Ontarians can choose to sign an organ donation card, but this card is not legally binding. The choice to donate organs ultimately belongs to the deceased’s family.

Health Minister George Smitherman has stated that while he’s personally comfortable  with the concept of presumed consent, Ontario needs to further consult with the public before making any policy decisions. A team will be appointed to consult with the public and further study the issue.

A new law is already in place requiring 13 major Ontario hospitals to report to the Trillium Gift Of Life Network whenever someone dies in their facility, in order to find a donor match. This law has effectively increased the rate of organ donations in Ontario. With this rise in organ donations, some critics say that presumed consent may not be necessary.

It is important for every eligible person to carefully consider this matter, and make an informed decision on whether they would like to become an organ donor. For more information on organ donation, please visit http://www.giftoflife.on.ca/en/.

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