Monday, August 4, 2008


A missed chance

SIR – I am disappointed by the WAG Health Committees’ decision not to pursue creating a “soft” opt-out system for organ donation.

Patients continue to die on waiting lists as the demand for organs increases; a natural consequence of patients living longer with co morbidities and chronic illnesses. An opt out system would have stimulated debate amongst the public, raised awareness regarding organ donation as well as the current dire shortage, as well as forcing people to face up to discussing death with their families.

One only has to look to recent media headlines to see the fantastic second chance that organ donor problems provides, with the tragic loss of life of a three-year-old girl crushed to death turning to happiness as her parents decided to help others by donating her heart and parts of her eyes.

I only hope that the Welsh Assembly Government now commit themselves to running a vast public awareness campaign encouraging people to become voluntary donors under the current system.

I only hope that in years to come a review may decide that opt out is the route to take for Wales. This decision is a missed opportunity to once again lead the way in healthcare. My only fear is that as a doctor, I may have to face many patients and their families, desperate to receive an organ and break the tragic news to them that they may die as there is no organ available.

Pant, Merthyr Tydfil

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