B.C. breaks record for number of transplant donations

B.C. breaks record for number of transplant donations

More than 450 lives were saved by organ transplants in 2017, according to the Ministry of Health

For the first time in his medical career, Dr. David Landsberg feels like B.C. is leading the way for deceased organ transplant – and rightfully so.

A record-breaking 479 lives were saved by organ transplants in B.C. last year, according to new data from the Ministry of Health, a 25 per cent increase from 2016.

Landsberg, BC Transplant’s provincial medical doctor, said in a statement Friday this translates to more lives being saved than ever before.

The province suggests the growth is from a mix of system upgrades and healthcare teams’ increasing efforts to identify potential donors and support families in choosing organ donation.

But there’s also been a cultural shift, Landsberg said, that’s normalized deceased organ donations.

“This is a result of system changes we’ve made over the past few years that are now having an impact, but also a shift in our culture to one that fully supports organ donation as a normal end-of-life option,” he said in a news release.

In times of tragedy, it has become more common for some families and loved ones to find closure in seeing a life forever-changed through the donation of a kidney or lung or heart.

And while B.C. has been ground-zero of the opioid epidemic in Canada, opioid-related deaths have also been linked to increasing organ transplants. Although B.C. Transplant can’t confirm the cause of death that results in organ donations, bout 19 per cent of all donations came from a fentanyl drug user.

READ MORE: 25 per cent of organs donated in B.C. came from fentanyl overdose deaths

WATCH: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

More than 630 B.C. residents awaited transplants last year. And while some were lucky enough to receive a transplant, 29 died while waiting for a life-saving organ.

Alison Snowden was one of the 52 British Columbians to receive the gift of life last year, in the form of new lungs.

“You never think something like this is going to happen to you until it does,” she said. “A transplant saved my life.”

Lung and kidney transplants were the two kinds of organ donations that saw the biggest rate increase in 2017, totalling more than 30 per cent of the total transplants. Meanwhile, 97 living kidney transplants were performed.

Dr. John Yee, Medical Director of the BC Lung Transplant Program, said he remembers a time when there was just one lung transplant within a year.

Since then, he’s watched the rates of lung transplants increase “dramatically” in recent years.

“There are many factors that have affected this increase; there is a greater availability of organs, there’s more awareness that lung transplants are a viable option for people with end-stage lung failure, and we’ve built a well-trained and experienced multi-disciplinary team that can manage the demand while achieving excellent health results for our patients,” Yee said.

The increase in donations has been met with an increased number of patients waiting for organs, data shows.

As of Jan. 1, 638 people were still waiting for an organ transplant. Residents can register their own decision about organ donation at transplant.bc.ca.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford News readers nominated their Heroes in Education.
Celebrating our Heroes in Education

Abbotsford educators, staff go ‘Above and Beyond’ for their students

The South Poplar one-room schoolhouse in Abbotsford is among three local heritage buildings that will benefit from provincial funding announced this week. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford heritage buildings, including one-room schoolhouse, get $162K in funding

Upper Sumas train station and 145-year-old Turner House also included

The Fraser Valley Bandits 2021 regular season schedule has been released. (File photo)
Fraser Valley Bandits release 2021 regular season schedule

Professional basketball team hopes to have fans inside Abbotsford Centre in 2021

Snowfall warnings Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 for parts of the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Chilliwack Progress)
Winter storm warnings Thursday for Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Snow is expected to become heavier as day progresses with snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Police stopped car riddled with bullets in Whalley Monday night. (Photo: CFSEU)
Police seize two pounds of pot, $25K from Surrey car riddled with bullet holes

This was in the neighbourhood of 104th Avenue and Whalley Boulevard on Monday night

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

Most Read