MP Duncan backs resident’s presumed consent organ donation petition

In this provided photo, MP Eric Duncan and St. Andrews West resident Myles Lynch show off Lynch's e-petition aimed at creating a national presumed consent law for organ and tissue donation. The petition is online until April 27, 2020. (MP Eric Duncan via Newswatch Group)

SDSG – Local MP Eric Duncan has authorized a local resident’s petition to look at making all Canadians organ and tissue donors under presumed consent.

The petition, which St. Andrews West resident Myles Lynch says is “aimed at saving lives” across the country, has now cleared the House of Commons to receive signatures.

Lynch has received organ transplants three times in the last five years. “For every exceptional case like mine, there are many others whose time runs out before a good match can be found,” he said.

The petition calls on the government to have a committee formed to study the possibility of a national opt-out program for organ and tissue donation.

Lynch believes it could save thousands of lives. According to Duncan’s news release, there are 4,500 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant – 260 died last year waiting for a match.

Duncan says his role is to “connect constituents with resources to advocate for issues that are important to them.” He calls Lynch’s life story “inspiring and I am happy to help him raise awareness on a cause very personal to him.”

Presumed consent for organ and tissue donation – also called negative option – has garnered strong objection in the past – at least in Ontario. In 2007, a citizen’s panel commissioned by the Ontario government found people objected to presumed consent.

“People have got it figured out in a minute,” committee chairman Dr. Ted Boadway told CBC News. “They don’t want negative option for billing, and they don’t want negative option for their body.”

Meantime, Nova Scotia is bringing in an opt-out program this year for organ and tissue donation. It’s the first jurisdiction in North America to do so. In that province, organs include kidneys, pancreas, heart, liver, lungs and small bowel. Tissue donations include eyes, skin, bones, tendons and heart valves.

Lynch’s e-petition is open until April 27. You can find the it by clicking here.

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