England Adopts Opt-Out Organ Donation Law From Next Year

From next year, people in England will have to opt out of being an organ donor, rather an opting in. This is because of changes to the consent laws that have been given the green light today.

This is after Queen Elizabeth II gave royal assent to a bill that is known as 'Max and Keira's Law', named after nine-year-old Keira Bell and Max Johnson, aged 10.

Keira's heart was donated and saved Max's life, and since then his family have worked tirelessly to have the rules regarding organ donation changed so that more lives can be saved.

Under the new legislation, which only applies to people living in England, every single adult in the country will be presumed to consent to donate their organs in the event of their death unless they expressly say that they don't want to be one.

Keira Bell. Credit: Facebook
Keira Bell. Credit: Facebook

The Government hopes that this change to the law will save hundreds of lives each year and help more patients get the donor organs that they so badly need.

Max's family began campaigning for a change to the law even before Max received Keira's heart via a transplant.

Max had been suffering from a dilated cardiomyopathy that left him spending his entire life in hospital and in need of complex and expensive medical equipment to keep him alive. The only thing that could have saved him was a heart transplant, and luckily he got one.

Keira died three days after a serious car crash close to her home in Devon, but even though she died, she helped Max to live. Not only that, her organs gave new life to four people, including another young boy who received her pancreas and liver.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

Immediately after his transplant surgery, Max said: "It is the best I have felt in my whole life.

"I am looking forward to seeing my friends and going back to school. It just feels amazing."

Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was 'delighted' after the Organ Donation Act passed.

She said: "It marks a momentous step for thousands of people in need of a life-saving transplant and could save as many as 700 lives a year.

"With significantly more people willing to consider organ donation than are actually registered as donors, this vital step will presume consent unless people choose to opt out of being a donor."

Max Johnson. Credit: Facebook
Max Johnson. Credit: Facebook

May continued: "It's important that everyone takes the time to discuss their choices on donation with their families and register their wishes, whatever their preference may be.

"I also want to thank those who have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of this issue, and pay particular tribute to Max, Keira and their families for making this historic change happen."

Featured Image Credit: Facebook

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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