China’s organ donation program hailed
An Australian family expressed their appreciation for China’s organ donation system on Wednesday, saying that they believe efforts are being made to ensure that it is “supervised, open and lawful.”
The remarks were made by family members of Ken Storey, an Australian tourist who died of heart failure on Friday at the age of 74.
Storey was hospitalized on May 30 from a heart attack in Shanghai while travelling with his wife.
Storey’s family decided to donate his organs on June 6. But the donation was not performed as Storey died before procedures and paperwork, including kinship and marriage certificates are finished.
The decision was made unanimously by the family, said Myfanwy, Storey’s eldest daughter.
She told the Global Times that it would have also been her father’s decision, who had a great passion for China and love for its people.
As there is no specific law or regulation on foreign donations in China, the procedures are done with reference to that of Chinese donors, Zhang Jidong, vice president of Renji Hospital, where the surgery was scheduled to take place, told the Global Times.
The procedures include obtaining unanimous consent from the patient’s immediate family members and strict medical assessments, Zhang said.
Storey was about to donate his liver and both kidneys.
As of Wednesday, 10 foreigners have voluntarily donated their organs in China. They were from the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, the Philippines and Greece, according to data provided by the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation.
It shows that China’s organ donation and transplant system is being recognized by more and more people worldwide, who are “impressed” by the reforms and consider donating organs in China as an “honorable” move, said Huang Jiefu, former vice minister of health and current head of the foundation based in Beijing.
Myfanwy said her family was convinced that the organs would be put to good use by relevant procedures which were lawful and regulated, as well as the passion of Chinese medical staffers, whom she said had allayed her previous concerns.
“The stigma of organ procurement from prisoners in China is something of the past and we felt China has made efforts to make organ donations [an] open [cause],” Myfanwy said.
Every part of the process was explained, supervised and done with the support from hospital staffers, said Myfanwy, who is a lawyer in Australia.
China banned the use of donated organs from executed prisoners in 2015 and required donated organs to be distributed through a computerized system to ensure a fair, transparent and traceable process.
Myfanwy said that she will express her feelings in Australia as much of the information about China’s organ donation and transplant system is “bad stuff” that differs from her experience and feelings.
She said she believes China is taking steps to do the right thing and that foundations are engaged to make sure that organ donations are legal.