Organ donation cases: 80% rejected by family members

Organ donation cases: 80% rejected by family members

KUALA LUMPUR: About 80% cases of potential organ donors have been rejected by their family members, said Dr Raja Farah Faizura Raja Shahruddin, head of Transplantation Unit, Medical Development Division, Health Ministry.

She said that is why only about 20 to 30 people donate their organs each year after getting the consent and approval from the family of the organ donor.

“They (the families) for various reasons disagree with family members who have pledged to donate organs, including refusing to allow the body to be mutilated, fear of delaying the funeral and some even say they do not know about the wishes of the deceased to donate his/ her organs,” she said.

She said this after launching the National Organ Donation Awareness Week (and heart to heart talk) yesterday, which was officiated by the Health Ministry medical development division director Datuk Dr Bahari Tok Muda Che Awang Ngah.

According to the Health Ministry statistics, as of Sept 31 this year, 431,833 or 1.3% of Malaysians have pledged as organ donors after death and the number is still low compared with other countries.

Meanwhile, National Organ Donation Public Awareness Action Committee chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said many cases occurred when families disagreed to the deceased individuals donating the organs even though they had pledged to do so.

He said donors were expected to share information about their desire to donate organs with their families and their immediate relatives so that no problems arise when having one’s organs harvested after death.

“For example, someone who has the organ donation pledge card is involved in an accident, then the doctor will first ask the family of the donor (for approval) but unfortunately the donor’s family does not agree because they do not know about the wishes of the deceased.

“So, this being a constraint, I hope more donors explain why they register as organ donors with their families and immediate relatives because they have the responsibility to influence and convince them,” he said.