The impact of the new Welsh organ donation laws on personal autonomy.

Consent is a fundamental principle within UK law, and medical law in particular. Without a person’s full and informed consent doctors cannot do anything to a patient, no matter how minor or major a procedure may be. If doctors do anything without consent, they could potentially face criminal action for assault and battery, or civil charges for negligence. A major part of living in a capitalist society is the freedom to have personal choice, to say yes or no as you will, regardless of what others may think.

The 2001 Kennedy and Redfern Inquiry found that doctors at a number of hospitals were retaining children’s organs, either without asking parents at all, or only asking to retain ‘tissue’ which many outside of the medical profession would not think included whole organs. This was known as the Alder Hey scandal and led the Government to re-write organ donation laws to try and regain the trust of the public.

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