Angry Doctor

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Click here to donate

A few weeks ago angry doc had a patient who wanted to have his Advanced Medical Directive witnessed and his body donated to science after his death. He was quite disappointed when angry doc told him that he did not do the first any more, and that he had no idea how to have the second done.

But thanks to this letter from Prof Lee in the ST Forum today, angry doc now knows how.

Organ transplant: Unease over last-minute opt-out

THE recent incident in which a brain-dead patient's family tried to physically obstruct the operation to harvest his organs for transplant into patients needing them has revived the discussion about brain death and even led to calls to amend the Human Organ Transplant Act (Hota) itself.

Some doctors have called on the authorities to respect the feelings of the family of potential donors. Given a choice, the vast majority of families would object strongly if they thought this could prevent their loved one's organs from being removed. Even with the Hota, there is a shortage of organs forcing some desperate Singaporeans to go overseas in search of organs.

The only incentive at present not to opt out is that those who opt out go to the bottom of the waiting list if they ever need an organ. Justice would not be done if these people could still opt out at the point of brain death if their family objects vigorously.

For the few Singaporeans who want to go beyond the Hota and donate any organ that can be used for transplant, there is a separate organ donor form where one can specify which or all organs one wishes to pledge.

This used to be a paper form which could be obtained from the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the 1990s when I did so. Perhaps it is now available on MOH's website.

Dr Lee Wei Ling

Indeed it is. Some browsing on the MOH site reveals that donating one's organ for transplant and to science comes under the Medical (Therapy, Education and Research) Act (or MTERA).

You can download the form here.

I learn something new every day...

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