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

or transplant is to work with the families. De Wispelaere proposes a two-pronged approach.

First of all, he proposes beefing up the organ donor registry system by creating what he calls a 'second consenter.' A person who wants to donate organs would, well in advance of death or illness, name a person to act as his or her 'second consenter.'

De Wispelaere says naming a second consenter a spouse, next-of-kin or even family friend would allow families to openly discuss organ donation at a less emotional time. When death was imminent, the second consenter would be able to vouch for the donor's wishes.

This, he says, would almost certainly increase the number of organs available. "The donor would have a living advocate who could say, 'Yes, we had a discussion about this, and I can assure you that the person really wanted to go ahead'," says De Wispelaere. "We think this reduces the stress on the family."

He also says doctors will be more likely to proceed in cases when the family can't be reached in time if they know a second consenter can vouch for the donor's intentions.

The second and more controversial aspect of his approach involves creating an incentive for second consenters not to change their minds or back out of their commitment. De Wispelaere proposes that this be done by getting governments to create organ transplant tax credit programs. A person who agrees to be a second consenter would be entitled to a tax credit after the donor's death.

De Wispelaere says he realizes this idea is "problematic," but he is adamant that a tax credit does not amount to selling organs. Most countries use tax credits to encourage behaviour that's socially beneficial, says De Wispelaere, citing child benefits as an example. He says an organ donation tax credit is merely an extension of the concept.

He says the second consenter would get the tax credit whether the organs are used for transplant or not. The purpos
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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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