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Should families have any say over organ donation?

If the person has already said what they want done with their organs, the ideal scenario is for families to follow and respect that. But of course, there is not one type of family and a wide range of scenarios can come up along the way.

There could be a mother so devastated with her son’s passing that taking an organ from her beloved would just add salt to her wound. There could be a horrible death that dismantling a person’s body would seem unethical. There could be a number of things that may happen for families to go against their relatives’ will, but I think it would be for the best interest of everyone involved if they just uphold the decision of the person who had already adamantly stated what he or she wants.

For the person who is fixed on doing whatever they want to do with their organs, it is also their duty to let their families understand why or how they plan to do so. If say they want to donate their organs, they should make a list of the good things that this donation can do to a stranger’s life—how so much good can come from so much pain.

If a plan of action is clearly presented to families when this kind of decision is being made, it could also be easier for families to follow what you want. Be honest. If you want to sell your organs to the black market, which I recommend you don’t, then make damn sure your reasons are at least worthy of a listen.

When the person has, for example, signed an organ donor card without informing their families, the best solution I can think of is to have a legal governing body within hospitals that could see to it that families don’t intervene. There are European countries that have an ‘opt-out’ policy in which there is assumed consent of organs being donated unless they register to oppose it.

All of these are of course easier said than done. If you care for a person, you would want your image of them to remain intact. The actual intervention from families usually happen when there’s a sudden death – how can you expect them to deal with this issue while they are in grief? A myriad of emotions can come to play and so it is imperative that there is a firm hand that could deliver the person’s wishes- whether it is an NHS authority or an inconsolable parent.

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