Chinese to face organ donation choice in event of death when getting driver's license

16:17, April 25, 2011      

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Chinese citizens will be asked to think about donating their organs in the event of death when applying for drivers' licenses, reported the Legal Evening News on Sunday quoting Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu.

Huang said by the end of this year, all driver's license applicants will be given the option to donate their organs should they die and which organs they'd like to donate.

Huang said the move is to streamline the donor registration system so as to expand the pool of organs available for transplant surgeries.

Currently, China suffers a big shortage of transplantation organs. According to official statistics, China has 1.5 million patients in need of organ transplants each year, but only 10,000 of them could get transplants due to few donations.

Huang said it was common practice in some countries to supply applicants of driver's license with the necessary paperwork for organ donation.

Huang added 80 percent of Australians register for organ donations when getting their drivers' licenses, and the rate is 45 percent in Britain. However, China has no such system in place.

Huang stressed that applicants' free will must be fully respected. "Everyone has his or her own choices," said Huang.

Apart from improving the donor registration system, Huang said the government should also offer financial incentives to donors and their families, for example, cutting back medical costs for donors during their hospital stay and their funeral expenses.

Other financial compensation could also be considered, such as tax rebates, medical insurance or tuition waivers for donors' family members, said Huang.

Source: Xinhua
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