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Russia: Asking for OK Before Taking Organs Is 'Inhumane'

European Court of Human Rights hearing 2 cases on Russia's organ donation law
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2018 4:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – At least two lawsuits filed at a top European court claim Russia violated Europe's Human Rights Convention by removing organs from the recently dead without telling relatives. Russia's response: Asking relatives' permission would be "inhumane." Documents provided to the AP detail how Russia is fighting charges over the way it harvests organs in two cases submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, last year. Separate decisions are expected in the coming months. It is simply "inhumane" to ask family members about organ removal "almost simultaneously with notification of the death of their loved one," Russia claimed in a July memo to the court. And there is not enough time to get consent before taking organs, government lawyers added.

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When Galina Valyuschenko's son, Igor Verevkin, 49, suffered injuries to his head, lungs, ribs, and elsewhere during a bar fight in Omsk, southwestern Siberia, in September 2010, she asked doctors not to disconnect him from life-support machines and not to remove his organs. He died within two days of being hospitalized. It was only when Valyushchenko read an autopsy report two months later that she realized the hospital's chief physician had taken her son's kidneys. That failure to inform grieving families has Valyushchenko and others arguing the Russia's "presumed consent" law goes against fundamental human rights guaranteed in Europe. If Russia is found to have violated the European human rights convention, the court could order Russia to overhaul its organ donation law. The AP has much more here.

(Read more organ donation stories.)

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