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Does Cayman allow organ donation?

| 08/08/2017 | 3 Comments

If someone dies suddenly, say in a car wreck, and some of their organs are still viable, is it possible for those organs to be donated to someone in need here in Cayman (or even flown elsewhere)?


Auntie’s answer: The simple answer to your question is no, but that will be changing to a yes at some point. Let me give you a bit of background. An official with the Ministry of Health explained where things stand on organ donation in Cayman. As you might already know, the Human Tissue Transplant Law was passed in 2013, with the aim to regulate the collection and use of human tissue here and also to establish the Human Tissue Transplant Council.

The law defines tissue as “in relation to a human, includes an organ, or a part, of a human body; or a substance extracted from, or from a part of, the human body”.

The law provides for the establishment of the aforementioned council, which “will monitor the donation of tissues and regulate any business carried on, in or within the Islands in respect of the buying of tissue”, the official said.

Now let me clarify the “no” part of my answer, with the help of the ministry. While the law was passed four years ago, it has not come into force yet because the accompanying regulations are still being drafted. The official explained the state of play in that regard. “Once the regulations have been finalised and receive Cabinet’s approval, a date will be set for the coming into force of the law. The ministry hopes to have the regulations finalised for Cabinet’s consideration in the coming months.”

I could start a conversation here ruminating on why four years have elapsed and we are still waiting for the regulations to be put into place, but I have chosen to spare everyone from that particular diatribe.

For those contemplating the sad reality of donating a family member’s organs, here is what you need to know, as explained by the ministry. “Currently, if someone dies suddenly in the Cayman Islands, the family of the deceased is unable to donate the organs of the person to someone in need or to send the organs overseas.

“However, once the Human Tissue Transplant Law is commenced, it will allow for the creation of an organ donor registry (which will be an ‘opt-in’ voluntary registry) and we believe that the creation of that registry, and the organ and tissue donations that we hope to see from it, will mean that residents of the Cayman Islands who may be in need of an organ/tissue transplant will be given a second chance to live.”

I encourage you to keep an eye out for the enactment of the law. If there isn’t any progress over the expected coming months, please write me again and I will try to get an update.

The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie, Medical Questions

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The greatest impediment to organ transplantation in the Caribbean is the lack of compatibility of mainland donors due to ethnic origins of the Caribbean diaspora. Several recent cases, most notably Eve Flowers who recently passed largely as a result of not being able to find a compatible bone marrow donor for her illness. This insanity has to stop and the regulations for this foundering law need to be set and the law take effect. There is already a major push towards registering people for a bone marrow registry in the region, spearheaded locally by the Cayman Islands Cancer Society in cooperation with Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry.

    Legislators get off your collective a$$e$ and get it done, before any more preventable tragedies come about. This truly is a “life and death” matter! Caribbean Lives Matter!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just another example of the archaic,draconian laws Cayman runs under. I am sure many lives could have been saved over the years if an organ donor system was in place. Most countries and largely , other British territories have had such a system in use for a couple of decades. Just looking at the players in legislature that would have a say in passing said laws , good luck with that .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Premier – issue a Cabinet direction now to allow organs to be sent overseas if appropriate. It really is that simple!

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