Recently, a new initiative on organ donation reached the first milestone of collecting more than 100,000 valid signatures.
The aim of the initiative is to introduce, by referendum, laws that would presume donor consent. The changes would allow surgeons to take organs from anyone declared dead without requiring the dead person’s prior consent. Instead they would check if the person had expressed an objection.
According to the Federal Chancellery in Bern, 112,633 of the signatures presented for the vote are valid.
Currently, organs can only be taken from someone who has given their consent. This can be done formally via a national organ donor registry. If a person’s name is not on this formal donor list, hospital staff try to establish the deceased person’s wishes by discussing it with close family members. At the end of 2018, there were around 44,000 registered donors, a small percentage of Switzerland’s 8.5 million residents.
According to Franz Immer, the director of Swisstransplant, 50% of close family don’t know the wishes of the deceased and 60% of organ donations are refused after discussions with close relatives.
According to Swisstransplant there were 158 organ donors in 2018. However, during the year, 68 people died waiting for organs and 1,412 people were still waiting for them at the end of 2018.