It goes without saying that we should respect the wishes of the dead. In life, we make Wills to set out what we want to do with our belongings after death – and our body is our most intimate belonging.
Yet when it comes to donating our organs, different rules apply. An individual's wishes, consciously and voluntarily expressed and recorded on the NHS Organ Donor Register, can be over-ridden by relatives, who may never have given the matter a moment's thought.
Often this is through simple ignorance. Relatives were unaware it was what their loved one wanted and in their grief cannot come to terms with the idea. Medical staff may be reluctant to press the issue.
No one must not ride roughshod over the feelings of grieving families. But there should be a presumption that the wishes of someone who wanted to donate organs will be respected.
We must remember, three people die each day because they cannot get new organs.