BRITS will have to opt out of organ donation from next year as changes to consent laws were given the go-ahead today.
The Queen has given royal assent to the bill known as Max and Keira’s Law after nine-year-old donor Keira Bell’s heart saved the life of Max Johnson, now aged 10.
Under the legislation, which applies only to England, adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be.
The Government estimates the change will save hundreds of lives each year, and it replaces the existing voluntary opt-in scheme.
Max’s family has worked tirelessly to change the law even before his successful heart transplant in 2017.
The schoolboy had made his own emotional appeal to the Prime Minister after his mum called for a nationwide “opt out” clause to the register.
LIFE SAVING SURGERY
Max suffered with a dilated cardiomyopathy, meaning his life relies on complex medical machinery and a permanent stay in hospital.
He was fighting for his life at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and needed a transplant to save him.
His life changed when he received the much-needed organ from Keira, who died three days after she was injured in a horrific car crash near her home in Devon.
She saved four lives in total, including another young boy who received her pancreas and liver.
Following the life-saving surgery that left a six-inch scar on his chest, Max told the Mirror: “It is the best I have felt in my whole life.
“I am looking forward to seeing my friends, and going back to school. It just feels amazing.”
Theresa May said she was “delighted” the Organ Donation Act has passed and paid tribute to Max and Keira.
The Prime Minister said in a statement outside the Commons: “It marks a momentous step for thousands of people in need of a life-saving transplant, and could save as many as 700 lives a year.
“With significantly more people willing to consider organ donation than are actually registered as donors, this vital step will presume consent unless people choose to opt out of being a donor.
It marks a momentous step for thousands of people in need of a life-saving transplant, and could save as many as 700 lives a year
“It’s important that everyone takes the time to discuss their choices on donation with their families and register their wishes, whatever their preference may be.
“I also want to thank those who have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of this issue, and pay particular tribute to Max, Keira and their families for making this historic change happen.”
Wales introduced presumed consent in 2015, while Scotland is considering its own reform.
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MPs assembled in the chamber reacted with a “hear, hear” when Mr Bercow read out the title of the new Act.
Royal assent is when the Queen formally agrees to make a Bill into a law.
This occurs once a piece of legislation has completed all the parliamentary stages in the Commons and Lords.
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