UK's Top Doc Calls for Organ Donation to Be Default Option

Says it's the only way to meet demand
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2007 9:20 AM CDT
In this photo released by the Haggerty family, Max Haggerty, 23, of Homer, Alaska, sits on a table in pre-op for double lung transplant at University of Washington, in Seattle on April 7, 2007. The 23-year-old...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The UK's chief doctor is calling for everyone who doesn't specify otherwise to be automatically considered an organ donor. Sir Liam Donaldson says not only does the UK face a severe shortage of donated organs, as do other countries, but 70% say they want to donate and only 20% end up registering.

A similar proposal failed to get government approval in 2004. Britain needs three times as many organ donors as it currently has to meet demand, Sir Liam says. "I believe we can only do this through changing the legislation to an opt-out system with proper regulation and safeguards," he says. (Read more organ donor stories.)