More Canadians are donating organs to save lives, but hundreds still die each year due to a shortage.
Donations have increased by five per cent over the past decade, but Canadians still fall behind other countries.
In Nova Scotia in 2013:
- 62 people received organ transplants
- 124 were still waiting at the end of the year
Across Canada, 230 people died in 2012 waiting for a new heart, lungs, liver or kidney.
Margaret Thomas, 59, was one of the lucky ones. She got a new kidney 18 months ago. She waited only five months.
“I was blessed and fortunate to have somebody help me out and to have this chance at life again,” she said. “This is a gift.”
Thomas changed her MSI card so that she will donate her organs. “If you can help somebody to have a full life, I beg that you donate,” she said.
Nova Scotians can plan to donate by filling in the form when renewing their MSI card. You should also discuss your wishes with your family so that if tragedy strikes, they’ll know your intentions.
Should donating be automatic?
Catherine Buckie will soon start dialysis and may someday need a kidney transplant. She would like to see organ donation be automatic, with a choice to opt out.
“Rather than us having to check a little box and say, 'Yes, we agree to be a donor,’ I'd rather it was the other way around, so that you had to make an effort to say, ‘No, I don't want to be a donor,” she said.
Leo Glavine, Nova Scotia’s health minister, said he wouldn’t make that change, but does support frank conversations about organ donation.