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Kidney Transplants, New Donor Cards, And TV

  • May 31st, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

donor-show-logo.jpgA senior European executive has joined criticism of the Dutch “Big (Kidney) Donor” TV show – while announcing moves by the European Commission to radically improve organ transplant services.
The European Union Commissioner for Health, Markos Kyprianou, commented on Wednesday (30.5.07) as he was listing changes in the organ donations system across the twenty-seven EU countries.

He said those moves would be headed by the inauguration of a Europe-wide donor card for people to carry in their wallets, together with co-ordination across borders, and increased use of live donor possibilities.

Such action was intended to bring into line currently divergent standards and treatment practices, from country to country, and would address shortages and long delays.

Mr Kyprianou said 81% of Europeans questioned in a poll had welcomed the idea of a single card, while only 12% had an organ donor card so far.

He said transplants were saving thousands of lives, but ten people died each day in Europe while waiting for a transplant.

After consultations he expected to bring in new European legislation next year, initially as an EU Directive, but perhaps in the form of a more powerful European Regulation.

He was speaking a day after the announcement of a new “reality” television show in the Netherlands, where three young patients are to compete for a kidney, donated by a terminally ill woman.

It had already been called “bad taste” by an official EC spokesman; Mr Kyprianou went a little further:

“It is not a way I would have chosen to raise awareness and publicise the issue, especially as commercial interests are involved and people will make money from this production,” he said.

“I believe it is a sensitive issue and do hope it raises awareness, though there are legal aspects which are up to the Dutch authorities.

“I was shocked, and I am not shocked easily.”

Picture: “Big Donor” TV show logo