New York Looking at Presumed Consent for Organ Donation
New York assembly members are seeking reform in New York's organ donation system in an attempt to increase the number of organs available for transplant.
According to the New York State Organ and Tissue Registry, more than 8,000 New Yorkers are waiting for organ donors. The need for organ donations far exceeds the supply and almost 500 people in New York die every year while on waiting lists.
One person who donates organs can save up to eight lives with the donated organs -- heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestine. The person’s other tissues (corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, veins, etc.) can improve 12 or more lives.
The New York assembly members are working on two bills which would work together. The first bill, strongly supported by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Westchester, would make New York the only state in the nation to adopt the model of "presumed consent." The “presumed consent” policy would allow physicians to remove organs from a donor over age of 18 without consulting the family.
The second bill has an "opt-out clause," giving a person the right to be removed from the presumed consent system of organ donation.
Brodsky’s daughter Julianne Willie is a two-time recipient of kidney transplants; one kidney four years ago from a donor who was struck by lightning and an earlier transplant from her mother.
"By any measure, the New York organ donation system is in shambles," Brodsky is reported to have said. "People are dying today because the government has been unable to construct an organ donation system that actually maximizes the potential for people to live healthy, full lives. That is unacceptable."
Neither bill has a sponsor in the Senate.