The number of organ donor referrals from Fraser Health doubled in 2017.
479 transplants. 479 lives saved.
That’s the news BC Transplant announced last week as British Columbia set records for both organ donations and transplants in 2017. The province saw a 25 per cent rise in deceased organ donors, helping achieve a record total organ transplants. This significant growth is thanks to a concentrated effort on the part of health care teams across BC to identify potential donors and support families in choosing organ donation.
“More lives are being saved thanks to life-saving transplants than ever before,” Dr. David Landsberg, BC Transplant’s Provincial Medical Director, Transplant Services said in a news release. “This is a direct result of system changes we’ve made over the past few years that are now having an impact, but also a shift in our culture to one that fully supports organ donation as a normal end-of-life option.”
2017 organ donation by numbers
In terms of organ donation, Fraser Health also acheived a milestone, doubling the number of potential donor referrals over 2016. Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian Hospitals also saw a significant increase in organ donors, which enabled 170 people from Fraser Health to receive life-saving transplants.
BC Transplant also saw a record 30 per cent increase in both deceased donor kidney transplants (225) and lung transplants (52) in 2017 and a record number of 80 liver transplants. This makes BC one of the leading provinces in Canada for deceased donation, in addition to being a leader for living kidney donation.
“We’ve had a dramatic increase in lung transplants in British Columbia,” said Dr. John Yee, Medical Director of the BC Lung Transplant Program at Vancouver General Hospital, who remembers a time when there was just one lung transplant in a year.
Thankful for the gift of life
The gift of life is something Alison Snowden truly appreciates, after being one of the 52 British Columbians who received new lungs in 2017.
“One day I was a healthy person and the next, doctors told my family that my lungs were destroyed," Snowden said. A rare disease meant that unless Alison received a new pair of lungs soon, she wouldn't survive. "I'm so thankful to my donor for this gift of life. You never think something like this is going to happen to you until it does. A transplant saved my life."
Have you registered your wishes for organ donation?
Despite a record year, there are still over 600 people waiting for an organ transplant in British Columbia, and the need remains strong. Register your decision about organ donation today, and share your wishes with your family. For more information, visit BC Transplant.