The complexities of organ donation in Canada have had us diving into a few rabbit holes over the last several months. In an effort to regroup, we’ve paused to gather our thoughts a bit.
It seems to us that the status of our organ donation system is at the “emergency level”. This means that the wait list is unbearably long and some will die waiting. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t incredible things happening in organ donation in Canada, because we know there are and we can feel the momentum for change. It does mean however that change is critical for Canadian families and yes, it is an emergency.
The next status level is what we’ll call the “sustained level”. We imagine this to be a Canada where wait lists are not a place to languish and do not make you sicker. This is a level of organ donation where we all agree that we are organ donors when we die, and all viable organs find a recipient. Though we are well aware of the complex change that it will take to get to this level, it is tantalizingly possible – and maybe sooner than later.
The level that we should all be striving for is the “curative level”. If we can peek into the future, we see a Canada where dialysis is a blip on the radar and kidney disease is treated routinely and swiftly with transplant. The agony of congestive heart failure will not be endured because a heart transplant can happen for anyone. Maybe children with type 1 diabetes can have pancreas cells transplanted and be cured instead of dealing with a chronic disease their whole lives. This level is about considering organ transplant as a cure, not as a last resort.
Regardless of the “status level” of our organ donation reality in Canada, it will always be the most amazing gift that one human can give to another: the gift of life. As we look into the future of what may be, remember that we are all part of it. Show your support by signing up to be a donor.
What do you think of our thought gathering? Does this resonate with you?
Totally resonates Janet and kudos to you for the great summary or “state of the nation” of organ donation in Canada. I agree that there is momentum towards improvement but at a painstakingly slow pace. We will get to the sustainable and curative levels…. just not sure it will be in our lifetimes let alone those that are languishing on the wait list. We need more policy advocates within the hospital communities but in the meantime and on an individual level, awareness is key and the most proactive measure we can take. Thanks for your perseverance, advocacy voice of reason! ❤