There may be many reasons why relatives decline to authorise donations; grief, religion or personal preferences among them. The effect of that, however, is devastating for those whose lives would be extended were different decisions to be made.
The NHS Blood and Transplant service relies on the goodwill of our population. And we can be thankful that huge numbers of people provide regular donations of blood, which helps to keep people alive.
We can also be grateful that significant numbers of people find it within their heart to donate organs when a loved one passes. Such acts of generosity and magnanimity are the difference between life and death for people on waiting lists who are often gravely ill.
And yet the fact that so many opportunities to save lives are missed cause us to reflect on the introduction of a new opt-out organ donation system that will help to save lives. People who might previously have decided against helping may no longer do so. There will be a sea-change as the national mindset is rebooted and donation becomes increasingly normal. And that can only be to the good of our country.
Of course, we fully respect that people do not have to make a donation and are free to say no. And we also recognise that there may be many perfectly valid and legitimate reasons for that view. And yet there will inevitably be a significant number of people who have a change of heart and allow their organs to be donated, which can only be welcome.
Campaigners have fought long and hard for the new system. And when one considers the full, happy and positive lives that organ donor recipients live, we can see the good that will come of it.
The new system will also remove some of the glitches that were once present. For instance, it is a cause for concern that almost one in ten potential organ donors were unable to help others live because their relatives over-ruled their explicit wishes. Such episodes should never occur.
This is a deeply sensitive issue and anything that both respects the wishes of the individual and helps others to live must be welcome. The new system removes some of the margin for error and omission.