Editorial: Organ donation legislation will save lives

Nova Scotia recently became the first North American jurisdiction to pass legislation that presumes consent for organ donation. BC and other Canadian provinces should follow suit.

With the recent inaugural Green Shirt Day, initiated by the parents of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Boulet, and the upcoming National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week taking place from April 21 to 27, awareness about the need for donors in Canada is at a high point.

According to the Canadian Transplant Association, more than 100,000 Canadians registered as donors in the weeks that followed the hockey team bus crash in April 2018, a result now known as the “Logan Boulet Effect.”

Those numbers are encouraging, but despite polls showing that 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation, only 20 per cent of the population currently is registered. It is time for those who talk the talk to walk the walk.

Under The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act, which will require up to 18 months of planning before it is proclaimed as law, all Nova Scotian adults would be considered potential organ donors unless they choose to opt out. If national polling is close to the same in Nova Scotia, theoretically, 90 per cent of its residents will not choose to opt out; a result even close to that would have an immediate impact on the life of thousands of individuals and families.

Any province that follows the same path will help 4,500 citizens across the country waiting for a life-saving organ or tissue transplant, 250 of whom die each year.

We all rely on health services. We constantly demand that more dollars go into the health-care system to ensure our needs are taken care of when we seek medical attention.

Our system is not perfect, but we are far better off than most countries. When our lives are in jeopardy, the system provides us with care, even if we complain about it before, during or afterward.

We all owe something back to the system. We can pay it in a way that does not cost us anything and, in fact, provides us with a reward, albeit posthumously. That reward could benefit a family member, a friend and or someone in our community. Or does it even really matter where the recipient lives?

Until our provincial government follows the path set by Nova Scotia, BC residents can register in two minutes by following a few simple steps at BC Transplant, register.transplant.bc.ca.

One donor can save eight lives and 75 patients can receive tissue. You cannot take it/them with you.

 
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