Organ Donation and
The Multi-Faith Perspective
summary of the conference held at the Ntional Museum of Photography,
Film and Television, Bradford, March 20, 2000.
There is a developing crisis in organ transplantation
in the UK with a year on year increase in the number of patients
awaiting life saving treatment. Although the concepts of organ donation
and transplantation are well known to the wider public there remain
many misunderstandings. In addition issues around brain stem death,
presumed consent, living related transplantation and commercial
trade in organs have ethical and religious significance for all
These threads provided the impetus for holding a national
conference which would bring together diverse interested parties
including religious leaders of the major faiths, clinicians and
health care professionals, and policy makers, to discuss and debate
moral and religious perspectives on organ donation and transplantation.
We are indebted to all the speakers and to the Health Minister Lord
Hunt who supported the day with the opening address. Special thanks
are due to Dr. Peter Doyle, Senior Medical Officer at the Department
of Health who chaired the proceedings with great skill and sensitivity.
There in fact emerged a strong consensus in favour of organ donation
from all the major faiths. The challenge is to convey this message
to the grass roots and it is to be hoped that the religious leadership
can assume a pro-active stance to help dispel myths and misconceptions
at community level.