Friday, November 13, 2015

Organ donation: Just do it

This will hopefully be the last time I blog about my mom's illness. In fact, I'm not going to write about her illness at all, rather, I want to take a couple of minutes to encourage everyone to be an organ and tissue donor.

In Ontario, you have to sign up to be an organ donor. The form comes with your driver's license, and you can either mail it back, or you can fill out an electronic version. You actually have to confirm your donor status online, so it might be better to just do the technologically advanced thing, and save a tree. Either way, it takes about 2 minutes to complete the form.

Just do it.

Here are a few points about organ donation, summarized from the Be A Donor website.

Why donate?
  • According to the Be A Donor website, currently 1,500 Ontarians are waiting for an organ donation, and every 3 days, 1 of those patients dies due to a lack of a suitable organ. My Mom waited approximately 6 weeks for her liver.
The Donation Decision:
  • Your decision to donate is confidential, and it will not affect the care you receive in the hospital should you become ill. The only thing we know about my Mom's donor is that they weren't local (the guess is Northern Ontario).
  • Anyone over 16 years of age can donate, and you can withdraw your consent at any time.
  • Although the Trillium Foundation always confers with your family before your organs are donated, your family can override your decision to donate, so make sure you talk to your family about your decision.
  • Without a pre-signed consent form, only 50 percent of families agree to organ donation.
The Donation Process:
  • Once a donor dies, their organs are tested for medical suitability, and to determine which patients are a best match for your organs.
  • Organs that can be donated include: heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, small bowel, stomach, corneas, heart valves, skin and bone.
  • The whole process takes about 24 hours, and should not impact funeral arrangements. An open casket should still be possible.
  • The family should not incur costs from the donation process.
So, that's it. I hope I'm done with this chapter of my life. As Andrew and I have discussed lately, it feels like we've lived through several lives since June, and we could do with a break.

Please consider agreeing to be an organ donor. You can save a life, possibly several.

Just do it.