posted on JULY 19, 2013 by IDA TORRES in NATIONAL
Japan’s revised Organ Transplant Law was enforced just three years ago,but already it has been making a significant difference in organ donations. According to a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry study council, 90% of the organ donations since the revision were made through the relatives’ consent, even if the donor failed to make it clear in his or her will.
Since 2010, there has been an increase in organ donations from brain-dead patients because the law now allows the harvesting of organs from these patients if the hospital has the consent of the patient’s families. Of the 63 cases since then, 56 of those patients were not card-carrying organ donors but were able to donate through the relatives’ consent. However, the number of transplants after cardiac death has decreased, since they now have an option to just donate after brain death. So in fact, there has been no significant increase in the number of organ donations since 2006.
But now some hospitals have been putting an emphasis on organ donations to get more people to plan in advance. St. Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital in Kawasaki has been proactive in getting the surgeons to talk to the patients’ families about the option of donating the organs in case something untoward happens. And it is crucial that more people are aware of this option because the number of patients on organ transplant waiting lists are now at 13,000 as of the end of May this year, according to Japan Organ Transplant Network.
Yoshiko Kaminaga, chairman of an organization serving children with heart disease, said that it is crucial that both ordinary citizens and medical care providers understand organ transplantation. He even says that schools have to teach that to students as early as possible so they will start thinking about the sanctity of life. A survey conducted by Japan Organ Transplant Network earlier this year showed that only 16% of respondents have expressed whether they will donate their organs or not in the event of their death.