Montreal boy awaits heart transplant

It was during open heart surgery in November when eight-year-old Samy Benyahia went into cardiac arrest on the operating table.

42 per cent of Quebec parents don't consent to organ donations after losing a child

Samy Benyahia suffers from Kawasaki disease, a rare autoimmune disorder. (Pascal Robidas/Radio-Canada)

Samy Benyahia is only eight years old but he is on a long waiting list for a heart transplant.

Benyahia suffers from Kawasaki disease, a rare childhood autoimmune disorder. It is seldom fatal but it can affect major organs including the heart.

It was during open heart surgery in November when Benyahia went into cardiac arrest on the operating table.

The boy spent a month and a half in a coma. His doctors say it was a miracle that he survived.

Lack of organ donations

Benyahia needs a heart transplant but many parents who lose their children don't consent to organ donations in Quebec.

"You can't find hearts everywhere," said Sofiane Benyahia's father. "That's why we're asking people to sign the back of their healthcare cards for organ donation."

Louis Beaulieu, the director of Transplant Québec, hopes that more bereaved parents will consider donating their children's organs to help save the lives of children like Benyahia.

"We have 58 per cent who accept and 42 per cent who refuse," said Beaulieu. "It concerns us a lot. We hope that the number of refusals will go down."

Organs and tissue harvested from a single person can save up to eight lives and restore the health of 15 others, Quebec's health insurance board says.

In Quebec, approximately 1,000 people are currently waiting for a transplant.

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