Tag Archives: Culture and organ donation

Nova Scotia passes bill for “Presumed Consent” Organ Donation

 

Canada currently operates under an “Opt-In” system for organ donation. That means that you have to sign up to put yourself on your province’s list of willing organ donors. However, in a move that puts Nova Scotia first among jurisdictions in North America, the province’s legislature has passed a bill for an “Opt-Out” system also known as “Presumed Consent.” It is routinely said that greater than 80 percent of Canadians are in favour of organ donation, but fewer than 20 percent actually go through the process of registering as a donor or “opting in” to the registry.

Here is an opinion article by Michael Enright, host of the CBC Radio show Sunday Morning that discusses the impact Nova Scotia’s decision can make on Canada’s “pathetic” record for organ donation. I invite your comments.

How Canada could change its ‘pathetic’ organ donation record: Michael’s essay

Let us bow our heads in gratitude and raise a glass to the province of Nova Scotia. Impossible to do at the same time, I grant you, but give it a shot.

A grateful nation has many reasons to thank Nova Scotia: the landscape, Pier 21, the people, lobster, Bob Stanfield, Lunenburg and Joe Howe.

The latest contribution of the Bluenose province to the betterment of mankind came this week when the provincial government introduced a bill to make every Nova Scotian an automatic organ donor.

When the bill becomes law, Nova Scotia will become the first jurisdiction in North America to operate a donor system known as presumed consent.

Under this system, everyone is considered willing to donate an organ unless he or she makes the determination to opt out.

It is used in 20 European countries and has led to an increase in organ donations and transplants.

‘Pathetic’ Canadian donation record

It couldn’t come at a better time. In terms of donation, Canada’s record is pathetic.

While more than 80 per cent of us say we believe in donation, only 20 per cent of us have made plans.

Click here to read more.

 

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The Logan Boulet effect: Death of player in Humboldt Broncos bus crash spurs a national movement

Out of the tragedy of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash and in particular, the death of Logan Boulet, a renewed awareness of organ donation gained prominence.

When Logan’s parents learned that their son’s injuries would lead to his death, his mother asked, “What about donating his organs? Is that a possibility?” This was immediately followed by his father saying, “Logan had directed me that he wanted to give his organs.”

Six people across Canada benefited from his organs and the Logan Boulet Effect soon followed. Nearly 100,000 Canadians signed up to become organ donors after learning he had signed his own card.

Bernadine and Toby Boulet, parents of the late Humboldt Broncos hockey player Logan Boulet, pose at their home in Lethbridge, Alta., on Dec.6, 2018.

(Retrieved through The Globe and Mail)

The Logan Boulet effect: Death of player in Humboldt Broncos bus crash spurs a national movement

Please click here to read the rest of the article and then go to this site to see about registering as an organ donor in your province.

I was a stranger and you gave me water… and a kidney!

Andy Clutton donated a kidney to Ghulam Akbar Momand after they became friends and neighbours living in a Rebecca Street highrise. – Barry Gray,The Hamilton Spectator

The following article was first published in The Hamilton Spectator and also published in The Star.

He was a stranger next door. Then he gave him a kidney

Their story began with a knock at the door and a gift of bottled water.

It has become about so much more — a 65-year-old Afghan man and a 29-year-old Canadian man sharing meals, religion, culture, respect and now, almost unbelievably, a kidney.

On an August day in 2012, Ghulam Akbar Momand and 18 of his family members moved into a Rebecca Street highrise, only to find their three units without water or electricity due to a building emergency.

It was not an ideal welcome to Canada for the Afghan family, who recently arrived in Hamilton via Pakistan.

That same day, neighbour Andy Clutton made his way through the 16-storey building along with a group of other residents, distributing water bottles to help those who couldn’t make it out of their units.

Going door-to-door, Clutton met Momand — who he calls “Dr. Akbar” — along with the rest of his family living in the building, which included nine children.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship between the two men born more than three decades apart in different countries with different skin colours.

“From that day, we make our friendship,” Momand said about Clutton. “A friend who gives … half of life to you — I find this friend.”

The story of how the two men went from “friends to donors” grew out of their shared medical experience, explains Clutton, who is recovering well after donating one of his kidneys to Momand three weeks ago.

Momand, who was chief and served as doctor in his village of Mangwal, Afghanistan, would routinely perform procedures like circumcisions and pull teeth.

Clutton, a father of three, works as a palliative-care nurse in Grimsby.

“Even though (Momand’s) English was very poor then, there were many terms in Latin through medical terminology that we could tell stories about, laugh about and learn from each other on,” Clutton said.

Clutton’s shift work also meant the two could have tea often. Through these meetings, Clutton learned of Momand’s medical conditions, including slowly deteriorating kidneys that led to him being on dialysis for more than three years.

In 2015, the father of 10 had a heart operation. The stress of the surgery caused his kidney function to rapidly decrease.

As Momand’s health continued to decline, the family looked into whether one of his children could be a living kidney donor, but none were eligible because both Momand and his wife have diabetes, said Clutton.

So, the family approached Clutton and another friend in the building, Varun Rana, for help explaining their situation to other Canadians.

Not knowing what being a kidney donor involved, Rana and Clutton began exploring basic questions, such as eligibility and the length of the process.

“Initially, just to find out the facts, but kind of setting our hearts to walking through this door until the door was closed,” Clutton said.

Several years ago, Clutton, his wife Shannon and a group of their friends — including Rana and his wife Amelia — moved into the Beasley neighbourhood purposefully to serve immigrants and refugees.

“Varun and I were part of a team that would try to use our spare time to help the neighbourhood,” he said.

They are part of a small movement called MoveIn, in which Christians move into low-income, high-density communities with large newcomer populations to follow Jesus’ example.

“We’ve always explained ourselves in this neighbourhood as trying to imitate the life of Jesus in service to others,” said Clutton, who grew up in the Philippines and went to high school in Toronto.

Click here to read more…

Andy Clutton, right, says he donated a kidney to Ghulam Akbar Momand due to a “spiritual conviction” to live life like Jesus. – Photo courtesy of Andy Clutton

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Changed Organ Donation

I received a kidney from a living donor in 2016. That this happened was a result of developments described in this article, a program run by Canadian Blood Services that would take all the available but incompatible donor-recipient pairs across Canada and seek to match them up. After going through that exercise multiple times with no success, the difference came about because an altruistic anonymous donor came forward. This resulted in a chain of paired donations and new lives for many people.

The following article, although specifically addressing the US context, describes these circumstances in great detail. The opening lines really grab you:

How AI changed organ donation in the US

By Corinne Purtill

There used to be only three ways off of a kidney transplant waiting list. The first was to find a healthy person from within one’s own pool of friends and family, who perfectly matched both the recipient’s blood and tissue types, and possessed a spare kidney he or she was willing to part with.

The second was to wait for the unexpected death of a stranger who was a suitable physical match and happened to have the organ-donor box checked on their driver’s license.

The third was to die.

Although algorithms have made a tremendous difference in matching up eligible donors and recipients, the medical ethics around organ donation cannot be resolved by a mathematical model. I’m sure you will find the included discussion of a “God committee” fascinating.

Click here to read the article.

And in a related note, I’ll be participating in the Kidney Walk this weekend. If you are interested in supporting those living with kidney disease by making a donation, click here to go to my sponsorship page.

Announcing the 2017 Kidney Walk

Hello friends,

Thanks for all your support for me in the years leading up to, and now one year beyond, the kidney transplant I received on July 29, 2016. Once again, I am participating in the London, Ontario Kidney Walk, raising funds for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. The Walk will take place on September 24. Between now and then I would appreciate any donations you are willing to make for this cause.

Did you know that the largest proportion of those in need of a transplant are those waiting for a kidney? Sad to say, those numbers are increasing. Among other things, the money you donate will help to fund research into finding more effective ways to respond to kidney disease and to support those with kidney disease.

Please follow this link to my Kidney Walk page and click on the green rectangle with “Donate Now” written on it to make a donation as you see fit.

Also, if you have been considering signing up as an organ donor, but haven’t done so yet, please click on this link as well to register as a donor. As the slogan goes, “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here!”

Thank you,

Russ Sawatsky

After Daughter’s Death, Dad Bikes 2,000 Miles To Hear Her Heartbeat One Last Time

You may have seen this in the media recently. It’s a very moving story about a father who had lost his daughter, Abbey Connor, to drowning, travelling by bicycle to raise awareness about organ donation. He arrived at his ultimate destination, the home of one of the recipients of his daughter’s donated organs, specifically, Loumonth Jack Jr., who received his daughter’s heart.

Although the emphasis is rightly on the power of organ donation to change lives, in this time of ongoing racial tensions it probably should not be lost on those who view the video that the donor was a young white woman and the recipient was a young black man. Does it not make the embraces between father Bill Connor and Loumonth and his various family members all that much more powerful?

Here is the story, written by McKinley Corbley and published on the Good News Network:

After Daughter’s Death, Dad Bikes 2,000 Miles To Hear Her Heartbeat One Last Time

This dad couldn’t contain his emotions when he heard his daughter’s heartbeat for the first time in six months.

That’s because 21-year-old Loumonth Jack Jr. was first diagnosed with a rare heart defect in January, and he was only given ten days to live unless he underwent a heart transplant.

In the very same week, Abbey Connor was found unconscious at the bottom of a hotel pool while on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Connor was then taken into a Fort Lauderdale hospital where doctors discovered that she had irreparable brain damage.

Connor’s organs were harvested and Jack Jr. became the lucky recipient of her heart.

Continue reading here.

 

Wife of La Ronge man killed in robbery brought to tears by organ donation letter

Those in need of an organ transplant recognize that their well-being is often, almost always, the consequence of a tragedy. This article from CTV News Saskatoon illustrates that situation.

Wife of La Ronge man killed in robbery brought to tears by organ donation letter

The wife of a man who was killed during an armed robbery in La Ronge said she’s “just amazed” with how his donated organs are helping others.

Simon Grant’s organs were donated after his death in April. His wife, Cora Laich, received a letter from The Saskatchewan Transplant Program earlier this month that says how his donation is benefiting others.

Laich said the letter brought tears to her eyes.

“It was almost unbelievable to think … Simon’s organs were in other people’s bodies and that they were living on in their bodies,” Laich told CTV Saskatoon.

The letter said Grant’s lungs, liver and kidneys had all been transplanted successfully. The person who received his lungs is doing well and “in awe of the gift,” according to the letter.

His liver was transplanted successfully and two different people are off dialysis and doing well, thanks to his kidneys being donated.

Click here to continue reading.