Tag: tissue donation
No more lineups at your local ServiceOntario kiosk. No more downloading forms (only to have them wait patiently by the front door for the mail strike to end, but I digress). At long last, residents of Ontario can now register online as an organ and tissue donor on a new website: BeADonor.ca.
In August 2010, I blogged about the tedious and onerous process of organ donor registration in the province that existed at that time. Adding to the confusion is the widely held belief that carrying a signed organ donor card is tantamount to formal registration. It isn’t, and therein lies the glitch; a signed donor card is not recorded in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s database, is often out of date, and is then subject to conflicting family wishes.
There is no cost to register. Online registration is easy, convenient, and secure. 1,500 people in Ontario are waiting for an organ donation right now. Ontario’s Health Minister, the Honourable Deb Matthews, issued a challenge on Tuesday when she expressed her hope that 1,500 new people will register by the end of the week. If registering to be an organ/tissue donor has been on your ‘to do’ list for a while, take a few minutes and cross this one off.
Jennifer Hartman, guest blogger
My friend owns a Chrysler dealership, and at the bottom of each of her ads, she includes a note in tiny font suggesting “Wise customers always read the fine print”. Those pondering organ donation in Ontario would be well-advised to follow this same adage. A number of significant changes have been made to the organ donation system in the Province:
• In addition to signing your Gift of Life Donor Card and informing your immediate family members of your choice to donate any/specific organs/tissue, you need to register your consent to donate. If you just carry the paper donor card, your wishes are only known to the extent that you have informed your family and friends. Once you register your consent to donate, your information is stored in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database.
• To register consent, you can either: i) visit an OHIP office when you renew your health card; or ii) download a Gift Of Life Consent Form, fill it out and mail it to the address specified on the form. Online registration may be available at some point in the future.
• As of December 2008, you are no longer able to register a decision of “No” (i.e. No, I do not wish to donate organs/tissue). Only “Yes” decisions are now stored in the OHIP database. It is important to note that as of July 1, 2009, if you had previously registered a decision of “No”, this decision will “no longer be used or disclosed by the Ontario Government to Trillium Gift of Life Network”. Interesting catch-22: Should you choose to not register your consent, are you, by default, regarded as a “No”? The answer, is NO. If you do not register your consent, the TGLN will approach your family to discuss organ donation and your family may consent on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
• Your consent can be withdrawn at any time (again, by visiting an OHIP office, or in writing).
Spain, Italy and Austria all practice ‘presumed consent’ in which organs and tissue are considered property of the state unless one actively opts out. In 2007, the Health Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association, commented that an opt-out regime would be too radical a shift from the existing opt-in regime to garner public support. To wit, in a poll published late last week by Canadian Blood Services, 45% of Canadians were strongly opposed to a ‘presumed consent’ system of organ donation.
There are currently more than 4,000 Canadians waiting for organ donations, and each year, more than 200 die awaiting transplant.
Jennifer Hartman, guest blogger