WE should never become blasé about the medical miracle that is organ donation.
Humans' ability to extend one person's life from the tragedy of another's death has been a precious gift to millions of people all across the world.
Australia's health system is among the very best and we are fortunate to have the services of talented surgeons who complete these delicate but incredible operations every day.
If only they could perform even more.
The single biggest impediment to these life-changing and life-saving operations in this country remains a relatively low rate of organ donation, despite the broader public's overwhelming support of the program.
But in Australia it's not good enough for someone to keep saying during their life that would like to donate their organs when they pass.
Instead, that person must formally register their intention and also make it clear to their family members who will ultimately be left to make the final decision - just at the difficult time that they are grieving a loved one's loss.
The system works well enough when people have had those tough conversations while still able to and everyone is clear about the deceased person's intentions, but falls down terribly whenever uncertainty is allowed to creep in.
The result is that many viable organs are not made available and the chance to improve, or extend, the lives of many people on the waiting list is lost.
Surely a better system is for Australia to follow the lead of those many countries that have already adopted an opt-out system for organ donation.
In those countries it is accepted that a deceased person's organs will be made available for donation unless that person has expressly asked they not be.
Such a system has been in place in Spain since 1979 and it is no surprise that country leads the world in terms of organ donation.
The time has come for us to join them.
Our nation prides itself on a spirit of mateship and what could be a better example of that mateship than extending the gift of life to as many people as possible?
If people don't feel right about donating their organs once they pass then the system must allow for their wishes to be met, but that's exactly what an opt-out system is.
And with so many lives to be saved, opt-out is the system we should adopt - now.
What do you think?
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