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MPP wants action on organ harvest bill

By Michael Power, Staff Writer

Dec 7, 2006

(York Region) - Forcing you to decide if you want to donate your organs after death during driver's licence renewals will go a long way to ending "one of the most inhuman waiting lists in our health care system".

That was the message Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees delivered to a provincial panel Monday in support of Bill 67, a private member's bill he introduced at Queen's Park on organ donation.

The bill would require you to check off yes, no or undecided on allowing your organs to be harvested.

Mr. Klees tabled the bill in February. It received support from all three parties in March.

But the province hasn't dealt with the proposal since then, Mr. Klees said

"That my constituents are forced to travel to the United States, pay thousands of dollars to have a life-saving transplant and then endure further frustration and trauma to find even their post-operative care may not be looked after by Ontario's health care system is unconscionable," he said.

"Public awareness of the importance of organ donation and the fact every Ontarian has the potential to give the gift of life is an important step toward increasing organ donations and eliminating what is, without question, one of the most inhuman waiting lists in our own health system."

The Health and Long-Term Care Ministry created the six-member panel last month to hold public forums to investigate increasing organ donation and report back early next year.

The panel met Monday night at the Newmarket Community Centre.

Requiring you to say if you want to donate organs after death is a step the province could start immediately, Mr. Klees told panellists.

He noted several members of the medical community, such as the president of the Ontario Medical Association, supported the bill.

New Democratic Party MPP Peter Kormos has proposed a bill that would make organ donation mandatory unless people specified they wanted to opt out -- so-called presumed consent.

But Mr. Klees' proposal, although requiring people to answer the organ donation question, would keep the right of everyone to make a personal decision, he said.

"At the very least, everyone will be required to give the issue of organ donation serious consideration," he said.

"People would simply be required to make one of three declarations concerning organ donation on their (drivers licence) application forms."

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