'More lives are being saved'

It was a record-breaking year for organ donations and transplants after death in B.C. 

Thanks to deceased organ donors, 479 lives were saved — a 25 per cent jump from the previous year.

“More lives are being saved, thanks to life-saving transplants than ever before,” says Dr. David Landsberg, BC Transplant’s provincial medical director of transplant services. 

Landsberg attributes the significant increase to system changes that were introduced allowing organs to get donors more quickly. 

At Kelowna and Penticton hospitals, donation after cardiac death was introduced, which resulted in a significant increase in donations. 

The approach the province is taking towards organ donation is saving more lives.

  • Hospital-based critical care teams resulted in a 40 per cent increase in hospital referrals of potential donors to BC Transplant over the last two years. 
  • Expanded organ donation options at the hospital level offer donations after cardio-circulatory death.

“System changes we’ve made over the past few years are now having an impact, but also a shift in our culture to one that fully supports organ donation as a normal end-of-life option.”

"British Columbia is one of the leading provinces in Canada for deceased donation, in addition to being a leader for living kidney donation," says Landsberg. "Our public education is working. More and more British Columbians are registering their wishes to be organ donors."

In 2017 in the Interior, 32 deceased donors provided organs, which is up from 17  in 2016.

Up to eight organs can be donated from a single deceased donor.

Since 2015, 60,000 British Columbians have registered for organ donation. 

BC Transplant estimates that there are nearly 640 people in British Columbia waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Dr. Landberg says, however, there are still gaps in the system and they are still not close to "meeting the need."

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