UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is backing an initiative to let hospitals harvest organs from dead patients without their consent, the Telegraph reports. The plan, which could take effect this year, presumes consent unless patients opt out or family members object. The goal is to help the 1,000 Britons who die every year for lack of an available organ.
Patient groups oppose the change: “They call it ‘presumed consent,’ but it is no consent at all,” said one watchdog rep. Advocates say a media blitz would encourage proactive consent in a country where 90% support organ donations. Some changes are already underway: Starting next week, doctors will be asked to identify “potential organ donors” among dying patients.