Dutch and Belgium Organ Donation Acts

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Assignment III-B: Dutch and Belgium Organ Donation Acts.

In Belgium there is a different post mortem organ donation law than in The Netherlands, although they both have the same main purpose: they seek to increase the supply of donors.

In Belgium it is presumed that each citizen has consented to the harvest of organs following death unless an objection to such a harvest was recorded, an opt-out system. Belgium combines presumed consent with a practice of inquiring into the wishes of the next of kin. One advantage of presumed consent is that there is no need to refer to drivers' licenses or donor cards, which may not be carried at the relevant time. Another is that distraught family members do not need to make a positive decision to approve harvest. The patient has been able to record their objection, if any, during their lifetime, so the decision to do so will have rested with them and doctors are spared the difficult task of asking for consent. The decision whether or not to object was that of the patient made in a reasoned manner and cannot be overturned by family (1).

In The Netherlands each citizen is given the opportunity to indicate whether or not they are willing to donate their organs in the event of their death, or whether they would prefer to leave the decision to their relatives, a full decision system. General consent may be given for the removal of organs and tissues, or one may withhold consent in relation to certain parts of the body. The Organ Donation Act provides for the creation of a register of donor information, in which details of individuals´ wishes regarding organ donation are recorded. Under no circumstances can organs or tissues be removed if the deceased has indicated that he or she does not want this (1).

In my opinion, the Belgium presumed consent system would be more effective in terms of the aim of the law. It is possible that only the more advantaged or educated groups in Belgium society would be aware of their right...
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