21 January 2011

Canberrans leading the nation in organ donation

| johnboy
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Katy Gallagher’s people have this afternoon managed to put a media release online from the 18th.

But the good news is that Canberrans are way out ahead of the rest of the country in giving away our bits:

“This report shows the ACT community is leading the way when it comes to organ donation rates. We are a generous community who can see that organ donation supports and improves the lives of other Australians. The gift of life provided by 10 local people has saved the lives of many more and we thank them and their families for their donation,” said Ms Gallagher.

The data for 2010, released by the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry today, shows the ACT is the standout jurisdiction in Australia.

“Organ donation rates in the ACT have been improving year by year – from 4 multi organ donors in 2006, to 5 in 2008, 8 in 2009 and 10 in 2010,” said Ms Gallagher.

“Our 10 multi organ donors in 2010 equates to 28 donors per million population. Overall, Australia’s rate was 14 donors per million – a significant increase on last year’s performance.

Well done all involved.

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I am theoretically in favour of organ donation. I would love to donate everything, from cornea and tissue to major organs.

However, I stumble at the impasse: the donor must be technically ‘brain dead’ but must still actually be ‘alive’ so the organs can be ‘harvested’ (hate that term) while still fully operational.

I guess I don’t have enough faith in either the medical profession, who may have a vested interest in saying the patient is brain dead, or technology (which, as we all know, is not foolproof).

If this difficulty/dilemma can be solved, I’m there. Meanwhile, I am happy to donate the stuff I can while living, such as blood.

AussieRodney7:10 pm 21 Jan 11

And so we should. You don’t need them when you’re gone.

But one little known fact is that to be eligible for organ donation (as distinct from the stuff on the extremities like corneas, skin tissue & bone), you must have died from brain death in an Intensive Care Unit. What happens is that the injury to the brain causes it to swell (just like any other bruise), to the point that it swells inside the skull & cuts off its own blood supply. At some point after that, you are legally declared brain dead by a comprehensive set of tests conducted by independent specialists. It’s at this point that the equipment & infusion drugs that have been keeping you alive can then be used to keep your organs viable for transplant.

However, current Australian legislation requires that the donation of your organs MUST HAVE family consent, at a time when your family already has too much to deal with, especially if the cause of your brain injury was sudden & unexpected, as it usually is.

The message here is, “TALK TO YOUR FAMILY and make them fully aware of your intentions, should they find you in this situation”. The Australian Organ Donor Register has helped in conveying the donor’s wishes to the family, but at this time, they do still have the final say.

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