When You Register as an Organ Donor, Tell Your Family

Despite the fact that 90 percent of the Canadian population is in favour of organ and tissue donation, less than 20 percent have registered as donors. Since our deaths come about in a variety of ways, not every death will result in a situation where transplantable organs become available. It is therefore rather disheartening to read that family members are blocking organ donations from their deceased relatives even though the deceased has registered as an organ donor.

Unfortunately, that is the story presented in an article in The Toronto Star.  I invite you to read the article below and then, if you have not done so already, register as an organ donor (in Ontario at http://beadonor.ca/). Once you have registered, please tell your loved ones of your decision, so that, if a tragedy occurs, they will know what to do when they are approached about confirming your desire to be an organ donor.

Mourning families increasingly blocking organ donations of loved ones

Requiring consent of the family proves an obstacle to helping Ontarians on waiting list for a transplant.

Colin Arnott gladly reaffirmed the organ donation consent of his brother Ken, who died following a massive stroke in 2013. In his hands is a photo of the brothers in one of their last races together. (STEVE RUSSELL / TORONTO STAR)

Colin Arnott gladly reaffirmed the organ donation consent of his brother Ken, who died following a massive stroke in 2013. In his hands is a photo of the brothers in one of their last races together. (STEVE RUSSELL / TORONTO STAR)

By MICHAEL ROBINSON Staff Reporter

Thu., June 16, 2016

Grieving families are blocking the organ donations of one in five Ontarians who registered to donate before they died, the Star has learned.

Data obtained by the Star from the Trillium Gift of Life Network reveals how often opportunities for potentially life-saving transplants are lost because of family objections — a number that has steadily risen over the past three years.

Whitby’s Colin Arnott said he was “surprised” when asked by Trillium representatives to “reaffirm” the consent of his brother, a registered donor who died following a stroke in 2013.

“They told us Ken had signed his donor card — I didn’t know he had — and asked us if it was true those were his wishes,” he said. “I was surprised why they were asking us to affirm his decision if he already filled out the forms and signed his donor card.”

Like the majority of families, Arnott gave the go-ahead for his relative’s donation to move forward. Yet provincial data shows the number of cases where families step in to quash a loved one’s donation is rising.

In 2013, the province’s organ and transplant registrar recorded 14.5 per cent of families (representing 26 registered donors) who refused consent, a number that climbed to 21.1 per cent (62 donors) last year.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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