Iceland has passed a law effectively turning every citizen into an organ donor unless otherwise specified. The crucial law on organ donations that was first introduced to Iceland’s Parliament in 2012 has finally passed. From this point forward, all Icelanders will be organ donors by default, unless they specify otherwise.
Citizens will have the “final say”
Icelanders will still have final say on what happens to the body after death. Under the new regulations, it’s illegal for the government to “remove organs or organic material from the body of the deceased if they have expressed their opposition to such or if doing so may be deemed for any other reason to be contrary to their will.”
The concept of the law is fairly simple. All Icelanders will be assumed to be organ donors by default, with two exceptions: if the deceased specified beforehand that they do not want their organs to be removed, or if the deceased said nothing on the matter but their closest relative objects. As reported, the bill is far from revolutionary. Other Scandinavian countries have similar laws on the books already. Studies conducted in Iceland showed that when asked, people about to die were only willing to donate their organs 60% of the time.
Organ donation in India
People in India are quite apprehensive towards organ donation. Almost 1.5 lakh people in India need a kidney but only 3000 of them receive one.90% of people on the waiting list die without getting an organ. India’s annual liver transplant requirement is 25,000, but we manage only about 800. The wait list for patients is growing all the time. Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donors after death. But cancer, HIV, infection (sepsis, for example) or Intravenous (IV) drug use will rule out donation.Patients who have Hepatitis C may donate organs to a patient who also has Hepatitis C. The same is true for Hepatitis B -but this happens in very rare cases. Most cancer patients may donate corneas.
India also needs a law like in Iceland to shorten waiting times for potentially life-saving procedures.