Saturday, April 25, 2009

"New organ donation bill seeks to abolish age limit

"A blueprint for a new bill to revise the Organ Transplant Law being drawn up by lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan combines elements from older bills by abolishing the age limit on organ donors and would have brain death declared only if organ donation were at stake, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Friday.

"Three bills related to organ donation have been submitted to the Diet so far. The new blueprint incorporates parts of two of these bills in an effort to expand the potential for transplants.

"The lawmakers, along with concerned lawmakers from ruling coalition partner New Komeito, aim to submit the new bill in mid-May.

"Former Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita, an LDP lawmaker and top board member on the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Labor and Welfare, and DPJ lower house member Osamu Fujimura, aim to revise the law during the current Diet session.

"Among the three bills submitted to the Diet, the first one stipulates that brain- dead people would be declared legally dead without exception, and that age limits for organ donors would be abolished. The second bill seeks to change the age limit from "15 years old and older" to "12 years old and older." The third bill seeks to more strictly define brain death.

"The new bill adopts parts from the first bill in terms of the age limit and elements found in the second bill that address the definition of brain death. The lawmakers aim to win over more lawmakers to the revision of the law with their goal of allowing organ transplants from children.

"Aside from age restrictions, the new bill maintains the basic conditions for organ donations stipulated by the current law, which requires that donors have written documents stating their will to be organ donors and stipulating their families' consent.

"The new bill, however, would not require donors under 15 to present written intent to be a donor. However, the lawmakers also intend to include measures in the new bill to stipulate the establishment of an ethics committee or similar organization in hospitals to look into potential child abuse and others causes that could have caused donors' deaths."

By Yomiuri Shimbun (4/25/2009), Link to article (last visited 4/25/2009)

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