Analysis of State Actions Regarding Donor Registries. Informed Consent

01/04/2000

Much of the discussion concerning informed consent dealt with two main questions:

  • What is the minimum amount of information necessary for legal purposes to qualify as informed consent?
  • What is the minimum amount of information necessary for moral/ethical purposes to qualify as informed consent?

The group generally concurred that legislation (i.e., the established legal minimum) on the first point is somewhat more straightforward. For many of the participants, the question of what qualifies as informed consent is tied closely to the positive donor designation on a driver’s license, which is a document whose primary function does not concern organ donation, but whose ownership is regarded as essential to many people, as opposed to a donor card, which signifies its holders specific intent to donate. The environment of the division of motor vehicles or the license office is not always conducive to informing individuals about donation, particularly when they are there for another purpose and are inclined to hasten their departure. The question arose as to whether a checked "Yes" box on a license renewal form can be ethically considered informed consent. A fact sheet provided on the back of the consent form to become a donor may be enough to be considered truly informed consent.