Long awaited legislation that would legalise human organ transplants may be close to approval.
It’s past time that the Cayman Islands has a law that legalises organ transplants instead of shunning them.
Many of the people in our midst have benefited from organ transplants in other jurisdictions like the United States.
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 for the programme to work.
Hand-in-hand with the legislation will have to be corresponding laws that deal with trafficking of people that would outlaw trafficking in human organs.
There will also have to be a way for people to let first responders know they are willing organ donators 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.
Education of everyone is of vital importance, because just because someone wants to be an organ donor, their family members don’t have to consent.
Those working on the committee to bring about the organ transplant donation legislation will also have to address the definition of brain death.
While this proposed legislation got its impetus from the proposed medical tourism hospital attached with Dr. Devi Shetty, the law should be passed whether the hospital comes to fruition or not.
We have in our midst about 40 people who are already on kidney dialysis at the Cayman Islands Hospital. Ten of those people are already waiting on a kidney transplant.
How much easier it would be if those people were able to find a donor within their family or among their friends here in the Cayman Islands and have the operation done locally.
Convenience aside, the United States makes only 5 per cent of its organs available to non-US residents, which means that only one out of 20 organs form the US could go to a Caymanian in need.
And there’s still no guarantee the donated organ will be a perfect match to the Caymanian recipient or that the patient can get to the US-based hospital on time to receive the harvested organ.
It’s high time that this legislation is passed in the Cayman Islands once and for all.