Official initiative wants to clear up 'yes unless' organ donation system in Latvia

A work group of Health Ministry officials, hospital employees, and patients' organizations wants to make Latvia's 'yes unless' organ donation system more clear, reports LTV. 

The current system makes everyone an organ donor unless they have specifically objected to it, but the closest relatives of a potential organ donor can still object to it. 

Alise Kukaine is the only cystic fibrosis patient in Latvia who is waiting for a lung transplant.

She's never far away from her phone. If there'll be a donor in Tartu, she'll receive a call whatever the hour. Alise wears a mask as she can't afford to become ill--the operation can be refused if the patient isn't in a healthy condition.

Currently less than 1% of Latvian residents have explicitly allowed or forbidden using their organs after death. Doctors want more clarity in the legislation, in order to better protect the interests of both doctors and organ donors. 

From late last year to the time of publishing, two hearts and six kidneys have been transplanted in Latvia. In one case, the parents of a child consented to taking kidneys to a neighboring country seeing as there was no need in Latvia. 

While presumed consent is in place in Latvia, in practice the lack of clarity in legislation has lead to court cases, as can be gathered from an article by a Constitutional Court judge who mentions one such case. 

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