Newly released statistics indicate 2015 was a record year for life-saving organ donations in British Columbia, to the extent that the rate of deceased organ donations has more than doubled over the last six years.
According to B.C. Transplant, there were 95 deceased donors in 2015 compared to 32 in 2009. This represents an increase to a rate of 20 per million people – up from 7.2 per million people six years ago and above the current national average of 16.6 million.
Moreover, there were 422 life-saving transplants from living and deceased donors last year. Records were also reached last year in specific types of organ donations, specifically 35 lung transplants, 79 liver transplants and three liver/kidney transplants, and 271 kidney transplants – of which 161 were from deceased donors.
“Simply put, the reason why we’ve seen this tremendous spike in deceased organ donation is increased support for, and commitment to, the donation and transplant process,” said Dr. David Landsberg, Physician Lead for BC Transplant, in a statement.
“The critical care community and operating room staff are integral to the organ referral, recovery and transplant process. We are working together with our health authority partners to ensure every family has the opportunity to consider organ donation regardless of where in BC they live.”
Despite the increase in organ donations, there is still a great need for more donations given that over 500 people ware waiting for organ donations in the province.
To keep the momentum going, B.C. Transplant has partnered with ICBC to launch a pilot program to encourage customers at participating driver licensing offices to register their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision in becoming an organ donor. Currently, half of British Columbians believe they have registered their decision on organ donation, but in reality only 20 per cent have done so.
The pilot program will last from March to May at the driver licensing offices located at North Vancouver, Vancouver’s Royal Centre, Abbotsford, and Kelowna. The results of the pilot project will be examined to create a permanent, long-term program.
“We know that an overwhelming number of our customers support organ donation so we’re pleased to get behind this important cause and make it easier for our customers to register their decision,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO.