Today’s Editorial June 30: Organ donation a worthy idea

As our population grows and people live longer because of modern technologies it is indeed time for Caymanians to begin considering organ donation.

Members of the Legislative Assembly last week unanimously passed a motion giving government permission to consider establishing an organ donor and transplant programme.

Now someone or a committee should be tasked with coming up with solid legislation to address the organ donation issue.

Many countries have had organ donation legislation on their books for years, and many of those countries have found themselves having to rewrite the legislation to close loopholes that permitted some unsavoury activity.

All-in-all organ donation legislation is a good thing.

There are 18 Caymanians alive today because of organ transplants, which took place overseas.

When we go overseas for organ transplants we are taking without giving.

Too, if we had a law making organ donations legal – which they aren’t now – our overseas counterparts would probably put those who need transplants in the Cayman Islands higher on priority lists because we would be seen to be contributing to needed organs and not just taking.

In many countries there are uniform legal procedures for people who want to donate their organs for hospitals and medical institutes.

Donors can make their wishes known in several ways. One of the most popular is a donor card, which an adult person signs and keeps in his wallet at all times.

In some states in the United States drivers’ licences bear donor information.

There are some people here in the Cayman Islands who cringe at the idea of organ donation because it’s not something we consider as a culture.

But the fact is that people die every day because of a lack of donated organs.

Travelling overseas for organ transplants is extremely costly and removes the patient from the comfort of his home, friends and extended family.

Whatever legislation is enacted concerning organ donation in the Cayman Islands, it must ensure that procuring organs for donations doesn’t cause the donor’s death.

And there must be language to address organ donations from those who are unconscious and those who have agreed to be organ donors but have filed living wills refusing to be put on ventilators or other medical care to keep them alive.

The concept that government now has permission to consider establishing an organ donor and transplant programme is a good one.

But those who are going to draft the legislation have a lot of homework to do to ensure we have the right law to legalize organ donation.

Too, if we had a law making organ donations legal – which they aren’t now – our overseas counterparts would probably put those who need transplants in the Cayman Islands higher on priority lists because we would be seen to be contributing to needed organs and not just taking.

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