Intended for healthcare professionals


Summit signals a change in the law on organ retention

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 20 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:125
  1. Kamran Abbasi
  1. BMJ

    A change in the law and an amnesty on the return of retained organs are the likely outcomes of an all day summit convened in London last week by England's chief medical officer, Professor Liam Donaldson.

    “No one denies the benefits to patients that can flow from research and teaching on human tissue,” he told the summit. “But something went seriously wrong in the way that the health service dealt with these issues.

    “Despite the grey areas in the law governing organ retention, some of these past practices are an affront to families who have lost loved ones. They belong to an era where decisions were made for patients, not with them.

    We must ensure that clinical care for future patients is improved through good postmortem practice. But what is important is that the rights of individuals are respected and that consent is properly obtained. We need to put in place a robust modern system to do this.”

    The summit heard evidence from families of children whose organs …

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