Life after death

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Life after death

Some people are able to live on even after death by becoming organ donors.

World boxing champion Choi Yo-sam, who collapsed in the ring during a title bout and was pronounced brain-dead on Jan. 2, 2008, is a prime example of this kind of generosity. Choi’s family, acting in the spirit of their son and his brother, donated Choi’s corneas, kidneys, liver and heart to six people.

Choi gave hope to the organ recipients and their families. His spirit lives on in these six people, including a two-year-old who received a corneal transplant from Choi and is now able to see. For the rest of us, Choi is a true hero, which was something he had always aspired to become.

Choi and Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, who passed away early this year, helped raise public awareness about organ donation in our society. Many people have since aspired to follow their example. Last year, 256 brain-dead people donated their organs, an all-time high. At the end of August, the number was more than 180 people.

However, considering that there are 16,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and more than 800 people lose their lives waiting for a transplant every year, we still have a long way to go.

This is why we need to redouble our efforts to boost the organ donation rate.

The government, responding to criticism of the regulations on organ donation, is working to make the process easier. It hopes to simplify the act of donation and decrease the amount of time needed for various procedures.

Under the proposed revisions, deceased people who registered previously to become organ donors will be allowed to donate their organs without the permission of their family members. For people who did not indicate a willingness to donate their organs before their death, the revision would reduce the number of family members that would need to agree to an organ donation from the current two to one.

The National Assembly should work quickly to pass the proposed law revision for organ donation and transplantation so that the institutional barriers to organ transplantation are removed.

Continued public support is essential to the organ donation movement. Sept. 9 was Organ Donation Day. The date is a reminder that a person who is brain-dead can save nine lives by donating nine organs.

We hope this is a sentiment that will not be forgotten. There is nothing more precious than making a sacrifice to save others.
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