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Swiss people vote in a referendum in favor of post-mortem organ donation

Swiss people vote in a referendum in favor of post-mortem organ donation

With the adoption of the new law, Switzerland has expanded the possibility of organ donation. The so-called 'presumed consent' means that the organs of anyone who has not previously said No can be donated in writing. Of course in these cases the approval of family members will be required anyway.

'Supposed consent' if the deceased person has not registered his wishes but relatives will still be required to give consent

This decision was taken to increase the availability of transplant organs by making them all a potential donor after death, unless they have explicitly objected.

The legal change was approved by 60% of the voters in the referendum. Under existing laws, transplants are only possible if the person has received written consent while alive.

At the end of 2021, more than 1,400 patients were waiting for organ transplants in Switzerland, a country of about 8.6 million people.

Last year, 166 clinically dead people donated their organs to Switzerland and a total of 484 organs were transplanted.

But 72 people died in 2021 while on the waiting list, according to Swissplant.

"With this referendum result, the people have shown that they are ready to give a chance to the people who are on the waiting list," said Swissplant director Franz Immer.

In an effort to reduce the remaining margin, the 40% who voted against, the government and parliament wanted to change the law to a model of 'supposed approval', something already adopted in a number of other European countries.

According to this system, people who do not want to become organ donors after death must say so explicitly in advance.

Those who have not made their wishes clear will be presumed to agree to yes, to donate. However, relatives will be able to object if they think their family member would not want to donate.

The rules will apply only to persons aged 16 and over.

The medical conditions for donation remain the same: only people who die in the intensive care unit can donate their organs and two doctors have to confirm death.