The people clearly say yes to a system change in organ donation: In future, lungs, hearts or kidneys may be removed if it is not known what the person concerned would have wanted – and if the relatives do not veto. The referendum against this so-called extended objection solution failed. Blick clarifies the most important questions about the new regulation for organ donation.
What happens next now?
The competent authorities at the federal government are starting work so that a new register of objections can be created, which is also accessible online. This register is the core of the new law. In it you will be able to record whether you agree to an organ donation or not, hospitals must consult it. In addition, ordinances from the Federal Council will be required for the concrete implementation of the law, which regulate, for example, who is considered to be the next of kin or within what period of time they must object to an organ donation. The law will most likely come into force in mid-2024, by which time the new register should also be ready for use.
I don’t want organs removed after I die. What should I do?
Whether you agree to an organ donation or not, it is important to state what you want. Ideally, this would be recorded in the new register that is now being created, but other forms such as a note in the living will are also possible. The main thing is that the documented will is also traceable. In addition to the basic yes or no, it will also be possible to determine whether only certain organs or, for example, no tissue may be removed. It is also important to discuss the issue with the relatives, because without a documented will they have the last word.
What if I forget to record my will on the register? Can organs be removed?
That depends on what the relatives say. If they know or assume that the dying person would not have wanted an organ removal, it must not be carried out either. If there are no relatives at all or if they cannot be reached, organ removal is prohibited.
In principle, it is assumed that in the future there will be a yes to organ donation. Doesn’t that mean that the life-support machines are then switched off earlier so that organs can be removed?
This is forbidden by law. The so-called preparatory medical measures – which usually involve preserving the organs – may be carried out before it has been clarified whether the organ removal is permitted or not. However, there are a number of conditions: For example, the measures must not accelerate death.
I’ve already thought about it and have an organ donor card with my wishes in my wallet. Can I dispose of the card now?
D rather not! Other forms of expression of will will also apply in the future. That means: If there is no entry in the future objection register, but the organ donor has an old ID card with him, this will of course be taken into account. The same applies to entries in the old organ donation register. It is still unclear whether there will be new cards for the new register.
The previous organ donation registry had significant security flaws. Why should that be better with a new one?
The new register will be a federal register, not that of the private foundation Swisstransplant. It is therefore also subject to federal security requirements, as the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) emphasizes when asked by Blick. Although Swisstransplant will manage the new register, it will receive a corresponding performance mandate and will be under the supervision of the BAG. According to the BAG, it is still unclear whether the data from the old Swisstransplant register will be transferred.
How is it ensured that my will is actually stored in this register?
A hospital may only consult the register once a decision has been taken to discontinue life-sustaining measures. The AHV number is then used to ensure that Hanna Muster from the register is also Hanna Muster in the hospital bed. Only the responsible specialists in the respective hospitals have access, and of course they are not allowed to change anything in the entry itself. It still has to be defined how the person concerned can create or adapt their own entry. It is clear that this must also be possible online.
Under certain circumstances, organs are removed from people who would not have wanted it – because they do not inform themselves. How is this to be prevented?
Informing the population is a sticking point, which the referendum committee has also highlighted. According to the BAG, the introduction of the new objection solution should be accompanied by a corresponding communication campaign. Since there is still a lot left to do with the exact implementation, there are only “rough considerations” about it. The federal government wants to spend money on this: In the first three years after the introduction, the budget for organ donation information is to be increased from the current 1.5 million to 2.5 million.
You might also be interested in this
SP Waterfalls: “It’s an important first step”(01:49)