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The Upper House on Monday enacted a bill to revise the Organ Transplant Law. Current law does not recognize brain death as actual death and allows, with family approval, organs to be taken only from people aged 15 or over who not only had accepted brain-death as actual death but indicated in writing their intention of being donors. The revision would recognize brain death as actual death and allow organ transplants from a brain-dead person of any age if the person has not openly rejected the possibility of becoming a donor and his or her family members approve. In view of such a drastic change, insufficient efforts were made to develop a public consensus on the issue.

Since the bill aims solely to increase the number of organs available for transplants, it carries the danger of infringing on the rights and feelings of those who are faced with the difficult decision of whether to allow the organs of a brain-dead family member to be donated. These people should not be pressured into making a rushed decision and their privacy should be respected. The bill is likely to increase the burden of doctors, especially emergency room doctors, at medical facilities designated as capable of removing organs for transplants. Since all brain-dead people will become potential donors under the bill, doctors will have the added duty of explaining the situation and asking family members whether they approve of organ transplants.

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