Credit cards could be used to indicate availability of cadaver organs for transplantation

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7156.478a (Published 15 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:478
  1. Neil Davidson, Consultant physician
  1. Department of Medicine, Armed Forces Hospital, PO Box 5190, Salmiya 22062, Kuwait

    EDITOR—There is a willingness in life to donate organs for transplantation after death, but it is the tiny hindrances to translating that willingness into a consent that is legally binding, rather than the availability of cadavers, that has led to severe shortages of organs.

    Specific organ donor cards are not easy enough to obtain and carry at all times, so what else, carried by most people most of the time, could double as a donor card? Any signed credit card could both serve its financial function and act as an organ donation card. Lack of consent to organ donation could perhaps be indicated by cutting off a specified corner of the card, until “smart cards” that incorporate medical information become widely available.The current wording for consent needs to be reconsidered to permit elective ventilation before an organ is harvested.1

    Although spacial and technical problems need to be overcome and card providers need to agree on a common phraseology and mechanism for non-consent, credit cards could radically improve the supply of cadaver organs for transplantation.


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