Editorial for September 15: Organ donation law is needed

The Caymanian Compass has to give
kudos to George Town Member of the Legislative Assembly Ellio Solomon for his
courage in calling for the introduction of legislation that would make organ
donations legal in the Cayman Islands.

We use the word courage because
just the mention of organ donation within the borders of the Cayman Islands
has, in the past, been taboo.

But some of those same people who
in the past would have shunned the idea of organ transplants have had their own
lives saved because someone in another country agreed to be an organ donor.

There are many people in the Cayman
Islands who are alive today because they travelled overseas – at a high cost –
to receive donated organs.

There is no reason we can’t have legislation
in place that would allow those operations to take place right here at home,
keeping down the expense for the patient and supporting friends and family.

The final legislation will have to
be thorough, though, for the programme to work.

First, there will have to be a way
for people to let first responders know whether they are willing to donate
their organs when they are dead or approaching death. In many parts of the
world organ donors are identified on their driver’s licence or with an organ donor
card that is kept in a wallet.

Lawmakers will also have to decide
who can make the decision to donate organs of a loved one who has passed away
who never indicated one way or the other about whether he or she wanted to be
an organ donor. Will the decision be left in the hands of a spouse, mother,
father, sibling, grandparent or adult grandchildren?

And how will people be able to sign
up to be an organ donor? Will the law make online registration via the Internet
legal? And at what age will a person be allowed to make the decision of whether
to become an organ donor?

There is still much work to be done
before legislation can be put in place, but at least discussion is finally out
there. Much education is on order about the issue before it is widely accepted,
but it can be done. 

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