Decision in the Federal Council: NRW Minister Laumann calls for a contradiction solution for organ donation: “I won’t let up”


Decision in the Federal Council: NRW Minister Laumann calls for a contradiction solution for organ donation: “I won’t let up”

Mr. Laumann, together with your colleague from Baden-Württemberg you have started an initiative in the state chamber: you want to change the current regulations on organ donation. Why? There are currently 8,000 people in Germany waiting for an organ and many of them will die. Because there are not enough donors. We are seeing more and more clearly: the consent rule is not enough.

This means that people during their lifetime or relatives after death must actively consent to a donation. But not enough people do that. We have a significant problem in Germany when it comes to organ donations. Donor numbers are not only stagnating, they are actually falling.

With your application you want to call on the Bundestag to vote again on the objection regulation. Just over three years ago, MPs rejected this and instead passed a law "to strengthen the willingness to make decisions". Shouldn't we give the new measures a chance first? I do not think so. Everything has now been done to bring the numbers up within the framework of our consent regulation. We have to be honest and admit that none of this helps. We can't wait any longer now.

Among other things, a register was announced in which people can record their consent to organ donation online. This is still under construction. So you think: That won't work anyway? Yes, but only if there is a contradiction solution. Then the register would have documentation power for the entire population. Without an objection solution, only those who actively register for the register would be recorded. In this respect, it would do no more in terms of documentation than filling out an organ donor card. I am firmly convinced that if we want strong transplantation medicine, we have to come to a contradiction solution. Look at other countries like Spain and Austria. The contradiction solution applies there. That's why there are significantly more donations there. In Spain you wait two years for a new kidney. In Germany it is eight to ten years.

Baden-Württemberg could serve as a counterexample: there were 22 percent more donors here last year than the previous year. Increasing the number is possible - even with the current regulation. I don't know exactly why this is in Baden-Württemberg. But one thing is certain: If you look at the numbers for Germany as a whole and compare them with other countries, our numbers are embarrassingly low. The only reason why the situation here is not much worse than it already is is that we can also receive organs from other countries via Eurotransplant. We benefit from their higher numbers. But that shouldn't be the case. The other countries rightly say: This is unfair – you also need more donors yourself.

Could you have done more in North Rhine-Westphalia? We have tried everything within the existing regulations. We have transplant officers in all hospitals. But there is also a lot of rejection because the relatives usually don't know what the deceased thought about it. And therefore, if in doubt, do not agree to a donation.

The regulation you suggested means: If I do not actively object, organs can be removed from me after death. Even though I may not have wanted to. But physical integrity is even enshrined in the Basic Law. Every adult can be expected to make the decision for or against. Both are fine, yes or no, you just have to decide. I think that the state can demand this from citizens. After all, that’s how it is in other countries too. This would also improve the situation for the doctors in the hospitals and for the survivors, who are often overwhelmed by the current regulations in a traumatic situation.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is also in favor of a contradiction solution. As the responsible minister, he could simply introduce such a bill into the Bundestag - but he doesn't want to do that because the initiative has to come from parliament, according to his argument. How disappointed are you? I'm not disappointed. I know that Mr. Lauterbach feels the same way as I do on this issue. When it comes to this question, there is no piece of paper that fits between the two of us.

But because it is not Lauterbach, but you as the state minister who are taking the matter into your own hands, there is a problem. Even if the Federal Council approves your application on Friday, it is not legally binding. But it would be a clear signal. If we get a clear majority in favor of it, the federal legislature should act. I'll wait a bit and see if anything happens there. If that is not the case, I will pull another tab and introduce a bill into the state chamber. Because such a move would force the Bundestag to deal with it. I'm not giving up on this matter.

If your demand makes it to the Bundestag: Why do you assume that the MPs' negative attitude has changed since the last vote? In the meantime, elections have taken place; it is now a new Bundestag with many new members. It is therefore right that he discusses the issue again. I'm confident about that.