PEI

Presumed consent for organ donation on P.E.I.'s agenda

The P.E.I. Legislature passed a motion Tuesday night to have a legislative committee reconsider the province's rules concerning organ donation.

A single donor can save 8 lives

Patients needing organ transplants can face long waits. (Peter Power/St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton)

The P.E.I. Legislature passed a motion Tuesday night to have a legislative committee reconsider the province's rules concerning organ donation.

Islanders are currently encouraged to give their consent before they die for their organs and tissues to be donated. Consent can also be given by next of kin after a person dies.

Charlottetown-West Royalty MLA Gord McNeilly presented a motion that would change that to presumed consent, meaning a person would have to opt out of having their organs harvested.

"Presumed consent would make many more organs and tissues available for badly needed transplantations for awaiting patients," said McNeilly.

Gord McNeilly hopes changes can make more organs available. (Government of P.E.I.)

"This is about providing the best opportunity for people who are sick and who need life-saving transplants."

He noted a single donor can save as many as eight lives with organ donation, and help as many as 75 people with tissue donation.

Health Minister James Aylward spoke in support of the motion.

"When this is referred to the appropriate standing committee, I believe we should all explore options to increase the uptake of organ and tissue donation, not only the idea of presumed consent," said Aylward.

Last spring Nova Scotia moved to become the first jurisdiction in North America to operate under presumed consent for organ donations.

A bill to change the rules passed the legislature in the spring. The legislation is expected to come into effect in mid- to late-2020.

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