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Organ Donation and Transplantation
The Multi-Faith Perspective

A 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 faiths.

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.

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