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Should we presume consent on organ donation?

Last Updated Apr 15, 2019 at 9:28 am MDT

This Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 photo shows organ donation paperwork at Mid-America Transplant Services in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Are you an organ donor? Are you sure? Because while the vast majority of Canadian say they support organ donation, when it comes to following through… somehow the paper gets lost, or the call never gets made, or the conversation with loved ones never happens. So a new bill in Nova Scotia aims to change that by presuming consent to donation unless citizens in the province opt out. If it becomes law, it would be the first of its kind in North America.

This approach has been tried and failed before, so will it succeed now? If it does, what happens if a deceased person’s relatives object to his or her presumed consent? How long are the waitlists for organs in Canada right now and will this help? And crucially… what’s behind that lack of follow-through from the majority of Canadians? What’s causing us to preach it publicly but back out in private?

GUEST: Andre Picard, health reporter, The Globe and Mail

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