Thursday, April 21, 2011

Manitoba creates internet organ donor registry

Congratulations to Manitoba, Canada for taking the initiative to start an on-line organ donor registry. Other Canadian provinces, such as Ontario, are expected to announce similar on-line registries soon.


Manitoba's health minister announced a new $100,000 program Tuesday, which will create a new electronic registry for organ donors in hopes of saving lives.

"The electronic organ registry will help professionals identify a patient's wishes even faster," says Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "[It will help] ensure opportunities for organ donations aren't missed."

The registry is meant to help Manitobans like Kristin Millar, who relies on a battery operated pump to keep her alive while she waits for a heart transplant. She is one of 160 people who are waiting for a heart, lung or liver transplant in Manitoba. It's hoped an online registry will encourage more people to donate.

"I'm living with the chance of stroke, of machine failure and of infection," says Kristin Millar. "So I do need a heart transplant."

But some worry the new online registry won't do the job. Charlotte Roy's daughter, Jessica Bondar, recently died while waiting for a heart transplant. She says the online registry won't solve a consistent problem with organ donations.

"They're going to forget to sign up, they're going to mean to do it later," says Charlotte Roy. "They're not going to tell their loved ones what they want. It doesn't go far enough."

Roy says the registry should work the other way around. According to her, there should be a registry for people who don't wish to be a donor so everyone, by default, is an organ donor unless otherwise stated.

But, the province says that doesn't work.

"Where the opt-out clause is initiated, the rates of donations are not higher than places that take an altruistic approach," says Health Minister Theresa Oswald. Her government points out the number of organ donations have been growing steadily in Manitoba over the past few years.

"When comparing the periods between 2000 and 2005, and 2006 and 2010, Manitoba has seen a 76 per cent increase in kidney transplants, a 94 per cent increase in lung transplants, a 106 per cent increase in liver transplants and a 25 per cent increase in heart transplants," said Dr. Brendan McCarthy, medical director of the Transplant Manitoba Gift of Life Program. "This can be attributed to the ongoing investments made in Transplant Manitoba and the changes we've made to make organ donation easier for Manitobans."

The province says last year, Manitoba had one of the highest organ donation rates in Canada at 15.4 deceased donors per million people. Officials say Manitoba has seen a 67 per cent increase in organ donation over the past 15 years.

-With a report from CTV's Eleanor Coopsammy (view video)

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario at Trillium Gift of Life Network NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today!
For other Canadian provinces click here
In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

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