New law on organ donors

A major change to the law on organ donations will be introduced by the end of the month, it was revealed yesterday, which will automatically make everyone in the country a potential donor unless they submit a request to the contrary in writing. It emerged during a parliamentary committee discussion yesterday that Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis plans to change the law in Greece to match that of Spain, where those who do not want to be listed as donors have to submit official paperwork declaring their unwillingness to take part in the scheme. Thanks to this system, Spain has the highest rate of deceased organ donors in Europe (34.6 per million people) and almost six times higher than in Greece (6.2 per million). The low rate of organ donations in Greece came to the fore as an issue this week after 12-year-old Dimitris Karitsas, who had been kept alive thanks to an artificial heart for over a year, died on Sunday after doctors failed in their attempt to find him a transplant donor. Only 19 heart transplants took place in Greece between 2003 and 2004. Immediately after Karitsas’s death, Synaspismos Left coalition leader Alekos Alavanos urged Parliament to launch a public awareness campaign on the need for organ donors.

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