New York Lawmakers Call for Change to Organ Donation Policy

April 28, 2010 4:43:13 PM PDT
Some New York lawmakers are calling for a change to organ donation policy. Right now you have to fill out a card to become a donor, but they're pushing for a system where you are automatically a donor unless you register not to be.

Raymond Willard undergoes dialysis at the Westchester Artificial Kidney Center in Elmsford.

The 51-year-old has spent the last five years waiting for a kidney donor.

He says that when a person is dying, they should be able to donate their organs to give someone else a chance to live.

To help people like Willard, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky has proposed legislation that presumes consent for organ donation.

He wants a decision from people when they get their driver's licenses to opt out of organ donation, instead of the current approach of opting in.

Brodsky, whose own daughter is a kidney transplant recipient, cites polls that show 67 percent of New Yorkers are willing to donate their organs, but only 11 percent are on the registry.

He wants to close that gap, but not everyone is comfortable with his idea.

Yonkers resident Joseph Douglas says, "People don't really investigate or do a lot of reading, so if you don't pay attention to it, you're going to be automatically in."

Currently there are 8-thousand New Yorkers like Raymond Willard waiting for an organ donor.

Mr. Brodsky believes his bill, which still faces several legislative hurdles, will get help to those people sooner rather than later.