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Organ donation and transplants continue to rise in 2016 in British Columbia

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In 2016, 423 people received a life-saving transplant in British Columbia, the most transplants performed in a year in this province.

For the second year in a row, the number of deceased donors is also up thanks to a concentrated effort from health care staff across BC, and increasing public awareness and support for organ donation. There

were 97 deceased donors in BC last year, up two from 2015. The BC deceased organ donation rate is now 20.32 donors per million population— above the Canadian national rate of 18.2 donors per million

“This is good news coming out of the holidays, with British Columbians demonstrating their generosity in the most important area—life,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Families can be proud of their decision to register as organ donors, and I hope this trend will encourage even more people to register their decision, making the New Year a fresh start for many in need of a transplant.”

While donation and transplant rates are up overall, more than 600 British Columbians still wait for the gift of a donor organ. British Columbians are encouraged to make a new year’s resolution that could be the gift of life – join 1,051,797 other British Columbians and register as an organ donor.

Living kidney donations were down to 95 in 2016, from 110 in 2015. BC Transplant is focusing on increasing this number in the coming years, as 80 per cent of people on the transplant wait list are waiting for a kidney.

Several other transplant-related records were also set in 2016:
  • 40 lung transplants (39 double-lung and one single-lung), four more than in 2015. Fifteen years ago, there was only one double-lung transplant performed in BC.
  • 28 heart transplants, nine more than in 2015
  • Record number of deceased donors in Northern Health
  • 83,505 people registered their organ donation decision in 2016, and the 1 millionth British Columbian registered their decision in the Organ Donor Registry
“Another strong year for BC Transplant is a testament to work we’ve done to increase support for, and commitment to, the donation and transplant process at health authorities across the province,” said Dr. David Landsberg, Physician Lead for BC Transplant. “More and more, families are the ones who approach us asking if it’s an option for their loved ones. It’s a positive sign that awareness efforts are working.”

"BC Transplant Programs all have the same goal—to make the gift of life a reality for patients and families in our province. Growth of the BC Lung Transplant Program has only been possible through the dedication of many individuals, always working as a team, to deliver highly complex care with compassion,” says Dr. John Yee, Head, VGH and UBC Division of Thoracic Surgery and Director BC Lung Transplant Program. “BC residents now have access to life-saving lung transplantation that is either comparable or better than in the rest of Canada.”

Simone Harty is familiar with the donation process—her son, Elliot was an organ donor after a tragic accident took his life in 2007.

“My son was able to give the gift of life to three people and changed the lives of the recipients and their families. For me, it’s helped me grieve, knowing that although my son lost his life, he was able to give life to others—that’s a great legacy,” says Simone. “If something good can come out of a tragedy like this, then it's a gift I'm happy I was able to give, and I know my son would feel the same."

That gift is something George Keulen, will forever be thankful, after receiving his double-lung transplant in 2010.

“As someone who has had a double lung transplant I can attest to the fact that organ transplants work! Since my transplant, I’ve biked across BC twice, received a Master’s Degree, and have had countless opportunities to tell the story about how a transplant saved my life,” says George. “Because of the record breaking number of transplants that have been done this past year, many more people now have that same opportunity to make the most of a second chance at life.”

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

Number of organ donors in BC by type

​Deceased donors​97​95​69​67​70​56​49
​Living donors​95​113​107​130​90​106​104

Number of deceased donors in BC by health authority

​Vancouver Coastal​32​28​16​19​27​26​18
Total ​97​95​69​67​70​56​49

Number of transplants by health authority

​Vancouver Coastal​110​115​67​83​68

Number of transplants in BC by type

​Kidney - living donor​95​110​104​127​83​98​97
​Kidney - deceased donor​173​161​101​107​111​93​92
​Liver - living donor​0​3​3​3​7​7​7
​Liver - deceased donor​74​76​60​58​58​49​46
​Pancreas, pancreas/islet, pancreas/kidney​12​15​12​7​6​11​15

Number of deaths on the transplant waitlist

​Deaths on waitlist​21​23​38​31​20​21​25

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. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @BC_Transplant.

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to
deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.
Media contact:
Tina Robinson, Manager
Communications & Community Relations
BC Transplant
Provincial Health Services Authority
Media line: 778.867.7472

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