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A dramatic, six-year surge for deceased organ donation in British Columbia

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​BC has more than doubled its deceased organ donor rate in the last six years and surged well ahead of the national rate, thanks to an concentrated effort on the part of health care staff in the province’s hospitals, in combination with ever-increasing public awareness and support for organ donation.

“This is a tremendous success story for our province,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The incredible increase in donor rates is a result of the combined efforts of BC Transplant, health care professionals in the province’s intensive care units and hospital emergency rooms, and of course, individual British Columbians and families who support organ donation.”

In 2009, BC’s deceased donor rate was 7.2 per million people. Six years later, BC’s deceased donor rate has increased to 20 per million people, with the national rate at 16.6 million (2014). There were 95 deceased donors originating in BC in 2015, and 32 in 2009.

Overall, 2015 was a record year with 422 life-saving transplants from living and deceased donors.

These achievements would not be possible without the surgeons and surgical teams in BC hospitals who work hard around the clock to save the lives of British Columbians requiring transplants, including some of the most complex transplant cases.

“Thanks to the hard work of health professionals and the British Columbians who choose to be donors, more lives will be saved than ever before,” said Greg Kyllo, Parliamentary Secretary for the BC Jobs Plan to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training. “There are still hundreds
of people in BC waiting for a transplant and it’s never been easier to register your decision online, or at any of the 62 Service BC offices around the province. I hope everyone takes the time to register their choice and potentially change someone’s life forever.”

“Simply put, the reason why we’ve seen this tremendous spike in deceased organ donation is increased support for, and commitment to, the donation and transplant process,” said Dr. David Landsberg, Physician Lead for BC Transplant. “The critical care community and operating room
staff are integral to the organ referral, recovery and transplant process. We are working together with our health authority partners to ensure every family has the opportunity to consider organ donation regardless of where in BC they live.”

Kim Jordison, whose mother was an organ donor, knows this well. “My mom was a wonderful woman who gave so much in life, and even in her death,” said Jordison. “Although I miss her every day, knowing that her organs have helped others in need and that her wish was honoured
brings me peace.

Among the 422 British Columbians who received life-saving transplants in 2015 was kidney recipient Teresa Atkinson, for whom more than 98% of donors were not a match.

“I’m what’s called highly-sensitized because of a previous kidney transplant,” said Atkinson. “I was on dialysis for 17 years waiting for a match, so this year really was a miracle for me. I’m so thankful to my donor for this amazing gift. I have choices now; I have the freedom to travel for longer than just a weekend and the energy to play and swim with my grandkids. It’s a new chance at life.”

In addition to the increase in deceased donation over the last six years, 2015 on its own broke a number of records:

  • 422 patients received life-saving transplants
    • 35 lung transplants
    • 79 liver transplants + 3 liver/kidney transplants
    • 271 kidney transplants (161 of which were from deceased donors)
    • Record number of deceased donors in Fraser Health, Interior Health, Provincial Health Services and Vancouver Coastal Health authorities
Public awareness of organ donation also received a boost in 2015 through a partnership between Service BC and BC Transplant aimed at making it easy for people to register at any of the 62 Service BC locations throughout the province. Since the April 2015 launch more than
38,000 British Columbians have registered their decision – a 36% increase over the previous five year average from April through December.

Registering your decision on organ donation will be even easier thanks to a new partnership between BC Transplant and ICBC. Starting in March, ICBC will begin a pilot at four locations – Abbotsford, Kelowna, North Vancouver and Royal Centre in Vancouver – to raise awareness for
organ donation. During the pilot, staff at these locations will provide information to customers, encouraging them to register their decision on organ donation.

“More than 500 people are desperately waiting for organ donation in BC,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Given that, the government of British Columbia is in full support of this new pilot and partnership between ICBC and BC Transplant. We believe it can make a real difference.”

One organ donor can save eight lives – register your decision at www.transplant.bc.ca or at any Service BC office. 

Media contact:
Peggy John, Manager
Communications & Community Relations
BC Transplant peggy.john@bct.phsa.ca
604.877.2184
Cell: 604.789.0446
Provincial Health Services Authority
Media pager: 604.871.5699

BC Transplant provides provincial oversight for all aspects or organ donation and transplantation in BC, and is an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). BC’s three transplant centres are BC Children’s Hospital, St Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver
Hospital and Health Sciences Centre. Transplant patients receive follow up care at the transplant centres or at one of eight regional clinics close to their home community. More information: www.transplant.bc.ca.

PHSA is transforming health care through innovation and is committed to providing the best patient care possible through research and development of leading edge treatments, programs and services. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca.

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Number of organ donors in BC by type

2015​2014​2013​2012​2011​2010​2009
​Deceased donors​95​69​67​70​56​49​32
​Living donors​113​107​130​90​106​104​91

Number of deceased donors in BC by health authority

2015​2014​2013​2012​2011​2010​2009
​Fraser​24​17​28​18​11​11​16
​Interior​20​10​10​10​14​13​6
​Island​13​21​7​11​4​7​4
​Northern​1​1​0​0​0​0​2
​PHSA​9​4​3​4​1​0​1
​Vancouver Coastal​28​16​19​27​26​18​3
Total​95​69​67​70​56​49​32


Number of transplants in BC by type

​2015​2014​2013​2012​2011​2010​2009
​Heart​19​22​21​16​14​22​12
​Heart/Kidney​0​0​2​0​1​0​0
​Kidney - living donor​110​104​127​83​98​97​89
​Kidney - deceased donor​161​101​107​111​93​92​56
​Liver - living donor​3​3​3​7​7​7​2
​Liver - deceased donor​76​60​58​58​49​46​27
​Liver/Kidney​3​0​0​0​0​0​0
​Lung​35​24​21​25​12​16​12
​Pancreas, pancreas/islet, pancreas/kidney​15​12​7​6​11​15​13
Total​422​326​346​306​285​295​211


Number of deaths on the transplant waitlist

​2015​2014​2013​2012​2011​2010​2009
​Deaths on the waitlist​21​38​31​20​21​25​32

 
 
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