Encouraging the Gift of life

November 01, 2013

I wish to introduce a Motion in the House of Commons calling for a change in the way we proceed with organ transplants in this country, suggesting priority should be given (all medical factors being equal) to those who have previously shown their willingness to be organ donors themselves.

Despite the increased awareness of the need for donor organs in Canada, there is still a shortage; about 200 people still die each year while waiting for transplants because no suitable organ is available. If more people were registered as organ donors, perhaps some of those lives could be saved. When such legislation was introduced in Israel there was a dramatic increase in the number of people who registered as organ donors. Perhaps many who are not now registered here in Canada would similarly be motivated to do so.

I have some personal experience. In 2010, after years of daily dialysis required to replace her failing kidneys function, my sister Sue was privileged to receive a new kidney from an anonymous donor. To be liberated from the dialysis machine was such a joy for her and such a blessing to all her friends and to our family, all due to the generosity of someone who signed an organ donor card and a family who thought of others in their grief.

I want to stress that this is a situation where the medical needs of the transplant candidates are determined to be identical. It does not allow a person to jump the transplant queue, but it does provide doctors with an extra criterion they can use when making what can be a very difficult choice.

I think we should do whatever we can to encourage Canadians to become organ donors. You never know when someone in your family may need such a gift. It might even be you.

What do you think?