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German ethics council demands opt-out system for transplants

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39206.419907.DB (Published 10 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:973
  1. Annette Tuffs
  1. Heidelberg

    An influential German advisory body is proposing a change in the law on organ donation so that it is assumed that everyone in the country has agreed to be a donor after death unless they have specifically opted out by registering their objection to donation.

    The proposal from the German National Ethics Council has had a mixed reception, with opposition coming from politicians and a doctors' organisation.

    The council's paper, published in April, was designed as an urgent response to the plight of the 12 000 German patients waiting for organs by asking for a change in legislation. Every year about 1000 patients die while awaiting a transplant.

    The council, which is independent, issues regular statements and opinion papers on important ethical topics (www.ethikrat.org). It has up …

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