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City takes initiative in drive for organs

THE Red Cross Society of China, under guidance from the Ministry of Health, will mount a major promotion to champion the cause of organ and body donations.

A pilot program to allow more flexible management of organ and body donations will also be discussed.

Officials from Shanghai Red Cross said state health authorities had decided to further promote organ and body donations to solve a huge shortage.

City officials said the initiative was in response to a proposal concerning serious traffic accidents from Chen Nan, a member of the local top advisory body.

Chen, the city's top renal physician, of Ruijin Hospital, has called for the legislation of a clear definition of brain death in China and suggested a pilot trial in Shanghai focusing on the victims of serious road accidents.

She called the trial "a must" to ease the alarming shortage of suitable organs for donations. She said the Shanghai Medical Emergency Center could establish an expert panel to do brain-death diagnoses.

Brain-dead accident victims could donate organs after family members agreed.

"It will greatly help to solve a severe organ shortage," Chen said.

Her suggestion was accepted by the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which will extend the proposal to national legislators.

"Because we don't have a brain-death law in China, we can't make use of a precious and quality source of organs from brain-dead people," Chen said. "Organs used for donations in China are widely poorer in quality compared to those in other countries acknowledging brain death."


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