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Ethicist urges tax credits to spur organ donation
Date:6/3/2010

Montreal, Quebec June 3 A Universit de Montral philosopher and ethicist is proposing that governments implement an organ donation tax credit to help increase the number of organs available for transplant.

Jurgen De Wispelaere is a visiting fellow with the university's Centre for Ethics Research, generally known by its French-language acronym, CRUM. In a paper presented at the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences taking place this week at Montreal's Concordia University, he says public policy needs to address the serious shortage of organs available for transplant.

De Wispelaere says that on average, about 50 per cent of all potentially available organs are not used because families refuse to provide consent at time of death, or families can't be contacted in time, or because medical personnel decline to remove the organs because consent is not clear. (Note: De Wispelaere's figures are not specific to Canada and are obtained from surveying international literature on the issue. The research also does not differentiate between donor consent procedures in different jurisdictions)

For example, he says that even though a person may have signed an organ donor card or registry, families may argue that the consent was given years ago and the person about to die had changed his or her mind. Because of the emotional factors surrounding the death of a loved one, says De Wispelaere, medical authorities are generally reluctant to pressure families to consent to organ donation.

De Wispelaere says there's a tremendous social benefit to organ transplants, since it increases the quality of life of people who are then able to return to active life. He says governments are right to want to encourage organ donation.

He says that up to now, governments have generally tried to encourage people to be donors, but that idea has gone as far as it can go. He says that the best way to increase the number of organs available f
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Contact: Ryan Saxby Hill
media@fedcan.ca
613-894-7635
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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