Monday, January 16, 2012

Australia showing improved organ donor rates

MARIBYRNONG residents are being urged to give the gift of life by becoming organ donors.

Since the national reform to boost organ and tissue donation rates, Footscray’s Western Hospital has more than doubled its rate of organ donors.

But Intensive Care Unit director Craig French said there was a mismatch between supply and demand, with the hospital hindered by low consent rates.

The hospital currently has 22 patients waiting for transplants, and a further 60 being investigated for transplant suitability.

"Our target is to ensure that we identify all patients who come into Western Hospital who are eligible to be organ donors," Mr French said.

While the government’s public awareness campaign and investment into hospital services has improved organ donor rates, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King said there was still a lot to do.

The 2011 Donation and Transplantation Performance Report revealed 337 Australians donated organs, which helped save or improve the lives of 1001 people - the highest annual total of deceased organ donors and transplant recipients in Australia’s history.

The national organ donor rate is 14.9 donors per million population (dpmp), but Ms King said she hoped it would increase to 16 dpmp in 2012.

St Albans resident Daniel Gluhak has received dialysis at Western Hospital for four weeks.

"It’s already a bit much," he said.

"You see people who have been doing it for eight-nine years and you think `far out you must be so strong mentally," he said.

The bricklayer said he was going through testing to find out if his father, who wanted to donate a kidney to him, would be compatible.

But if not compatible, Mr Gluhak said the waiting list for his blood type was seven years long.

"My whole life’s changed - I had to stop work," he said.

Coldstream resident Martin Mackus was one of the lucky ones, receiving a kidney transplant in December last year.

The 53-year-old had been on dialysis for over three years after being diagnosed with the auto immune disease Vasculitis PAN - a condition in which the body’s blood vessels become inflamed.

"(The transplant) supercharged my life," he said.

Mr Mackus said it was like someone had stuck a battery in him.

"It was the best Christmas of my life."

He urged people to make a decision about being a donor and tell their families.

"You’re saving another human being, you’re giving a human being life."

To join the Australian Organ Donation Registry, visit

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa,
United States,
United Kingdom, register at NHS 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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