Organ, tissue donations continue to increase in Niagara

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Posted Apr 18th, 2011

Awareness efforts to focus on registering consent to donate

The Niagara Health System (NHS) continues to encourage Niagara residents to save the lives of others by registering their consent to donate organs and tissues.

The NHS recovered eyes from 71 patients last year – a total of 142 eyes. Two people’s lives were saved by two multiple organ donors, resulting in the recovery and transplant of seven organs (one heart, two livers, four kidneys). There were two multiple tissue donations in which skin, bones and heart valves were recovered. These tissues helped burn victims heal, helped repair joints and saved limbs, as well as corrected children’s heart birth defects.

“Trillium Gift of Life Network recognizes the Niagara Health System as a leader in the province due to the high number of donations in Niagara. Through increased awareness and commitment to organ and tissue donation, we continue to increase our donation rates year over year,” says Anne Atkinson, Vice President, Patient Services. “I want to express my gratitude to the family members who made the decision to give the gift of life by donating their loved ones’ organs and tissues. Although we are pleased with our progress, we are mindful that these donations were the direct result of a family’s loss of a loved one.”

During Organ and Tissue Donation Week, which runs April 17 to 24, hospital staff will be volunteering their time to set up displays at the NHS’s seven sites to encourage people working at or visiting the hospital to register their consent to donate organs and tissues. These displays will be set up April 20.

“Even more lives could be saved and enhanced if more people would register their consent to donate,” says Christine Clark, Chief Communications Officer at NHS and a Board Member at Trillium Gift of Life Network. “Only 18% of Ontarians registered their consent to donation as of the end of last year. We know there are many more people who would give consent to donate their organs and tissues, but they need to register their consent.”

Nearly 1,500 people are on the transplant waiting list in Ontario – 53 from Niagara – and many more are waiting for a tissue transplant. Every three days, someone dies in Ontario waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. One donor’s generosity can have a tremendous impact on improving the health of others who desperately need transplants.  One organ donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of up to 75 others through tissue donation.

Niagara residents waiting for organs:
Heart 1
Kidney 36
Kidney/Pancreas 3
Liver 8
Liver/Bowel 1
Lung 3
Pancreas (whole) 1

How to register your consent to be an organ and tissue donor:

If you are 16 years or older, and have a photo I.D. health card or red and white health card, you can register your consent by visiting your local ServiceOntario centre, or download a Gift of Life Consent Form at giftoflife.on.ca. If you have previously registered a decision of “Yes” to donate organs and tissues with OHIP, you do not need to re-register.

What is the benefit to registering your consent to donate organs and tissues:

There are many benefits of organ and tissue donor registration. First, through organ and tissue donation, you can save and enhance lives of many fellow Ontarians waiting for transplants. Secondly, when you register your consent to donate, this information is recorded and stored in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database and will be made available to your family at the right time, only for the purpose of ensuring that your donation decision is known and respected. Lastly, by making your donation decision today, you relieve your family of the burden to make this decision on your behalf.

Information courtesy of Trillium Gift of Life Network

Niagara Health System