Old ideas are changing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 1995, 12:00am

I REFER to the editorial headlined, 'Respecting donor's wishes', which appeared on March 22, in the South China Morning Post.

In the past, even though many people in Hong Kong have signed organ donation cards before they died, their organs when they died, still could not be transplanted into those patients who needed these operations, because of objections from the relatives of the deceased.

This state of affairs should improve, once the new law is enacted, giving doctors the chance to carry out transplant operations from a donor card holder, despite the objections of relatives.

I think this law is appropriate, because in general, people are more liberal than they used to be.

The reason some relatives do object to the dead person's organs being used for transplants, is because the relatives believe in the concept of reincarnation. However, times have changed, and once a doctor has sat down and has explained that these life-saving transplants will help others, the relatives often agree. However, it is always important for the relatives of a deceased person who has an organ donor card, not to wait too long, until the organs are rendered useless for transplant purposes. I think the 'opt out' system which is used in Singapore is worth trying out in Hong Kong. The organs could be transplanted quickly and this would prevent them becoming wasted.

It is difficult to change traditional beliefs. It is only through public education, that it will be possible to change beliefs regarding reincarnation.

We must persuade people to reach out; to extend a helping hand to those who are in need.