Finland's new legislation for harvesting of organs comes into force

10:05, August 02, 2010      

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Harvesting of organs without asking for permission has been allowed by a new legislation in Finland since Sunday unless the deceased person has previously expressed opposition.

According to Finnish media report, a study revealed last year that 90 percent of Finns would allow their organs to be used after their death while only 20 percent have actually signed the organ donor card.

The aim of the new legislation is to address the acute donor organ shortage situation when Finnish laws had only allowed organ harvesting from people who have a signed organ donor card, or whose next of kin grant permission for the use of organs.

The new legislation was adopted by Finnish parliament in June and has come into force since Aug. 1 this year. It allows the harvesting of organs from brain dead patients without separate enquiries, except in the case that the patient is known to have specifically opposed the idea when alive. Decisions on organ donation involving underage patients and adults in the care of guardians would still be made by family members.

There were more than 670 transplant operations performed in Finland last year, while over 420 patients are still on the waiting list, five to 10 percent of whom died in queue per year.

According to Heikki Makisalo, a Finnish organ transplantation surgeon, the new legislation would increase Finland's organ donators by 15 to 20 percent per year.

Source: Xinhua


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