Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Estate planning and organ donation


Last week’s post 'Keith Richards, estate planning, body disposal and keeping it Respectable' considered a number of different alternatives in relation to body disposal following death.

As is well known, it is possible to donate organs for medical purposes, which in Australia is via an opt in process and requires registration on the Australians Organ Donor Register – see http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/australian-organ-donor-register .

Renowned behavioural economist Dan Ariely (among others) has commented on the level of organ donation in jurisdictions where there is an opt out approach adopted – in these jurisdictions, the level of uptake is astronomically higher, see - https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2013/02/increasing-organ-donation--but-not-the-way-you-think.

It is important to note that generally if a person wishes to make their organs or body available for medical research, there are specific additional steps that must be taken, prior to death, to ensure that the necessary consents are provided.

Links to the relevant websites in each Australian jurisdiction are set out below.
  1. New South Wales - http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/anatomy/body-donation/faq.php
  2. Victoria - http://medicine.unimelb.edu.au/anatomy-neuroscience/ehs/body-donor-program
  3. Queensland - http://www.uq.edu.au/sbms/body-donor-program
  4. WA - http://www.aphb.uwa.edu.au/body-bequest/donors
  5. South Australia - https://health.adelaide.edu.au/medicine/facilities/body-donation/
  6. Tasmania - http://www.utas.edu.au/medicine/medicine/programs/body-bequest
  7. ACT - http://medicalschool.anu.edu.au/getting-involved/body-and-tissue-donations
  8. Northern Territory – no program currently available.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock