We’ve been advocating for Canadians to register to become organ donors for a long time now. Truly, we’ve been fairly pleased with our impact, though in the grand scheme of things, it’s hardly been a ripple. We’ve seen Canadians step up and sign up in times of great tragedy, and we’ve been impressed with the level of advocacy in this area. And yet thousands of Canadians remain on the wait-list for organ transplantation.
We’ve begun to open our eyes to the full picture in Canada. We’ve talked to people at the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP), and have broadened our reading list to include more than just the conundrum of those signing up, or not.
What we’ve learned has caused us to pause for a moment to consider how we can contribute to improving organ transplantation in Canada. While it is important to continue to advocate for organ donation among all Canadians, the biggest impact will likely come from improving the way health care in Canada is set up to actually succeed in this critical area. As of now, we are not dressed for success.
In order for someone to successfully become an organ donor, so many things need to go just right. From the type of hospital, to the appropriate staffing, to the unit in which you are being cared for, whether or not mechanical ventilation is part of the care, process and practice regulations/rules, (and so much more) – all these elements must occur in a specific way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often enough.
Through a Canadian Institute for Health Information study, we learned that only about 1 in 6 potential donors become actual donors. If this could be addressed/improved, Canada’s wait list would be mostly fulfilled.
While these rather startling realities hit home, the notion of improvement is not a simple one. We are going to take some time to figure out how we can contribute, understanding that there is a great deal happening in this space. In the meantime – sign up to be an organ donor and be part of the discussion.