Germany is set to introduce new rules for organ donation, following record-low number of donors.
The German Foundation for Organ Transplants (DSO) reports that only 797 people donated their organs in 2017, the lowest number in 20 years.
Experts have now called for Germany to consider making people automatic organ donors when they die unless they have specifically opted out, a system recently introduced in the Netherlands.
“From a medical point of view, but especially in the view of the many seriously ill patients on the waiting list, such a rule would be the ideal case,’’ Frank Ulrich Montgomery, President of the German Medical Association, said on Monday.
Mr Montgomery was speaking ahead of Saturday’s Organ Donation Day in Germany.
A health expert in the governing Social Democratic Party (SPD), Karl Lauterbach, has also been campaigning for a so-called opt-out, or deemed consent, rule.
“For me it is most obviously the solution I favour – both as a politician and as a doctor,” Mr Lauterbach said.
“With it [the rule] we could save so many people from dying or give them a better life.’’
Rolf Henke, who heads the doctors’ trade union the Marburger Bund, is more critical of the idea, saying the organ donation system is based on trust and that an opt-out system would eat away at that trust.
People need to be convinced to donate their organs and the structures in place improved, he said.