Cash registers should query readiness for organ donation

Health insurance companies should inquire about organ donation readiness

According to the German Organ Transplantation Foundation (DSO), the number of organ donations in Germany reached its previous record level last year, but there are still far too few organs donated to supply all those in need. Therefore, the Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) has now pleaded in the context of the upcoming revision of the Transplantation Act to have the willingness of donors in the population to be checked by the statutory health insurance companies.

According to the proposal of the Federal Minister of Health, the statutory health insurance companies should inform the legally insured in connection with the issue of the new electronic health card about the possibilities of organ donation and request a declaration of willingness to donate organs. The Federal Ministry of Health confirmed corresponding media reports that a query about the willingness to donate organs should be mandatory for the statutory health insurance companies in the future. This is based on the assumption that many people would be willing to donate organs in principle, but have not yet documented this willingness, so that after the death of the affected person, an organ transplant can often not be carried out.

According to the DSO, in 2011 more transplant patients could be helped than ever before, even though most Germans still do not have an organ donation card. Nevertheless, around 3,000 of the approximately 12,000 patients who depend on organ donation die annually. According to the Federal Minister of Health, many Germans are ready to donate organs after their death, but have not yet filled out a donor ID or documented their will elsewhere. This means that family members who may have been informed about the will of the deceased face considerable difficulties in proving their willingness to donate organs in the hospital. In order to get a binding statement from as many people as possible, the Federal Minister of Health has proposed the amendment to the Transplantation Act, according to which the statutory health insurance companies should inquire about the willingness of their insured persons to donate organs and document them in an organ donation card. The insured can consent to organ removal after their death, reject it or reserve the decision for a later date. Thus, at least everyone would be legally insured to deal with the subject of organ donation during their lifetime. In order to provide the insured with the necessary background information, the Federal Health Minister states that the health insurance companies should also be obliged to provide qualified contacts for the insured's questions about organ donation.

German organ transplantation foundation coordinates organ donations The German Medical Association also pleaded for all citizens to declare their willingness to donate organs in the run-up to the planned amendment to the Transplantation Act, but was moved from this demand after legal doubts arose that legal declarations that such an obligation to declare would hardly be compatible with the Basic Law. The current proposal from the Federal Minister of Health now represents a new approach that aims to reach as many citizens as possible. The promotion of an increased willingness to donate organs is supported by the chairmen of the CDU and SPD parliamentary group, Volker Kauder and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In Germany, the DSO is responsible for the organization of all steps of the organ donation process including the transportation of the organs to the recipients. Almost 70 coordinators from the DSO are deployed for this purpose. They also support the hospital staff in the process of organ donation. In principle, everyone in Germany from the age of 16 is entitled to independent consent to an organ donation. Based on the current state of research, a relatively large number of organs from the human body can be transplanted, whereby organs that can only be obtained from a death donation and organs from living donors can be distinguished. Organ donations recorded after a death by the DSO include, for example, donations from pancreas, blood vessels, skin, heart, heart valves, cornea of ​​the eyes, bone tissue or cartilage tissue. (fp)

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Image: Günther Richter /

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