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New Human Tissue Law Undermines Donors Wishes

*****Media Release****
GiveLife NZ
9 April 2008

New Human Tissue Law Undermines Donors Wishes

"The Human Tissue Bill passed by Parliament yesterday fails to address many of the existing problems with our organ donor system, has a complex consent system that could actually lower the donor rate, and despite its rhetoric, gives less rights to the individual than under the previous law" says Andy Tookey of GiveLife NZ.

MP's decided to throw out Dr.Jackie Blue's bill that provided the simple solution of who could consent to the giving of your organs for donation --You The Owner Of The Organs --and replaced it with the Government Bill which has such a complicated hierarchy of who can give consent that the Health Select Committee had to ask for complex flow charts to be drawn up to help them understand who could give consent over who and who could override others decisions.

National MP Dr Jonathan Coleman told Parliament: "Gaining consent is quite a tortuous, convoluted path, but at the end of the day National believes that if an individual makes a decision about what he or she wants his or her body to be used for after passing on, that decision should be respected and no one should be able to overrule that."

Mr. Tookey believes that after a 6 year review process by the Ministry of Health we are still at a status quo. "Doctors are not going to sit with grieving relatives producing endless flow charts showing them who can and can't give consent. In reality they will carry on the way they always have, by not proceeding with donation if there is a refusal from anybody."

"The Bill is supposed to give primacy to the 'informed consent' of the individual, but then the government scrapped the organ donor register that they promised at the last election. Without a register there is no-where for you to record that 'informed consent.' Putting it in your will is not an option as that is not read until well after your organs have been buried or cremated."

In the meantime New Zealanders will have to carry on with the driving licence system which even parliament admitted was hopeless as it excludes non-drivers, you can only specify donating all organs or none, is a forced question on your licence application but is not legally binding, and then it turns out that after you've jumped through all those hoops the licence is not even checked in the event of your death."

"How is this bill going to raise the organ donor rate which was the stated aim according to the Minister when he introduced this bill?'

The Ministry of Health has also announced that there will be no organ donor register as "New Zealanders are not capable of making a decision to be a donor." As announced by the Ministry's Chief Medical Officer recently.

* In response to the passing of the Bill and to the further erosion of the wishes and choice of New Zealanders', and the belief that they 'are' capable of making the choice as to being a donor or not, GiveLife NZ will be announcing a 'Major New National Initiative' by way of a press conference later this month.

ENDS

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