CAIRO: The State Council approved the new organ transplant draft law and referred it to the Ministry of Health before it is discussed at the People’s Assembly (PA).
The new law settled the ongoing debate around the definition of death, assigning an independent committee of three experts to unanimously confirm an organ donor’s death after conducting 14 specific tests.
The committee will also be in charge of approving the waiting list of patients requiring an organ transplant, according to the severity of their condition.
Under the new law, all organ transplants will be conducted in public hospitals so the ministry can monitor the procedure.
Both the donor and the recipient have to be Egyptian, the new law stipulates, but they can be of different religions.
The new law will penalize doctors who perform illegal organ transplants, who can be subject to a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail.
“The current law’s maximum penalty was a three-year jail sentence, Abdel Rahman Shahin, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said.
Hospitals or medical centers allowing illegal operations may also be fined up to LE 1 million and can be shut down altogether, he added.
While the law is being discussed in the PA, Shahin said, the minister of health issued a new decision to monitor organ transplants, making it obligatory for the donor and recipient to get approval from the Ministry of Health and the Doctors’ Syndicate.
The PA is expected to approve the draft law next April, Shahin said.
PA speaker Fathi Sorour excluded the PA’s religious affairs committee from the discussions, leaving the matter in the hands of the health committee.