A new organ donation law inspired by North Devon Link Road crash victim Keira Ball has come into effect.
Max and Keira’s Law – the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, means all adults in England are considered as having agreed to donate their organs when they die unless they ‘opt out’ or are in an excluded group.
After nine-year-old Keira Ball died following an accident on the North Devon Link Road in July 2017, her father Joe gave consent for her organs to be donated.
Keira’s kidneys, heart, liver and pancreas saved the lives of four people, including 10-year-old Max Johnson, who needed a new heart.
Max campaigned with his family for the opt-out system, and in 2018 the Government announced the law would be changing and would be referred to as Max’s Law. Max announced he wanted Keira’s name to be added.
Speaking in February, Max said: “I am proud that when people speak about Max and Keira’s Law, they will be reminded to think of Keira, and I hope by remembering her in this way, that she will go on to help save even more lives than she already has.”
Anthony Clarkson, director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation, said: “We are very pleased that Max and Keira’s Law has passed its final round of parliamentary approval and we welcome the new legislation.
“It is important that people know they will still have a choice whether or not to donate. Families will still be consulted, and people’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.
“We hope this law change will prompt all of us to consider whether or not we would want to donate our organs and encourage us all to register and share our decision with our family and friends.
“We want people to know that there is no deadline to making your donation decision, you can register your choice at any time.
“We will continue to provide the very best care and support to organ donors and their families, in order to help save more lives through the gift of organ donation.”
Those excluded from the new law will be people under 18, those who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action; people who have lived in England for less than 12 months; those who are not living here voluntarily and those who have nominated someone else to make the decision on their behalf.
In cases where the individual hasn’t expressed a decision, specialist nurses will support families to make a decision, based on what their loved ones would have wanted. If the decision is not to donate, it will be honoured and upheld.
For more information, and to register your decision, head to the NHS organ donation website.