Despite removal of many obstacles, UK child organ donation rates remain low

EUREKALERT | BMJ

Families of dying children often not given chance to consider option

Despite the removal of many logistical/professional obstacles, and clear guidance from national bodies, UK child organ donation rates remain lower than in other comparable countries, say experts in a leading article published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Many families of dying children are simply not even given the chance to consider the option, and potentially save another child's life, they argue.

Over the past several years, national drives have cleared the way for organ donation to be made easier, with the appointment of specialist staff and the establishment of organ donation committees in every acute hospital and health board. And guidance on donations specifically from children has been published by national bodies.

Yet the overall rise in UK donation rates has not been replicated in children, where rates haven't budged and are lower than elsewhere, say the authors.

There are wide variations in organ donation rates among children's units across the UK, little research on the topic, and performance and other issues at each stage of the donation process--from identification of a potential donor through to recovery of the organ(s)--all of which compromise the numbers of potential donors, they say. Continue reading

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