British Columbia has just completed what was a record year for organ transplants.
In 2021, medical teams completed 529 transplants, up from 451 in 2020. Here are the individual totals from 2021, with 2020 numbers in parentheses — kidneys, 340 (280); livers, 97 (80); lungs, 66 (55); and hearts, 22 (33). As well, there were four pancreas and multi-organ transplants. The 2021 totals for kidneys, lungs and livers were single-year records.
In 2021, medical teams dealt with a one-year record 150 deceased donors — the previous record of 122 was from 2018 — while there were an additional 75 living kidney donor transplants. In 2020, there were 110 deceased donors, and 81 living kidney donor transplants.
I’m hardly an expert but I am assuming that the increase in deceased donors is due at least in part to the ongoing opioid epidemic that B.C., and so many other jurisdictions, is experiencing.
Considering that we continue to live in these pandemic times it is concerning that, as Joseph Ruttle of Postmedia reported, “Nine of those lung transplants were among people suffering from the potentially devastating effects of COVID-19, eight of whom were fully healthy before contracting the virus.”
As well, BC Transplant reports that 1.57 million B.C. residents have registered their organ donation decision. On top of that, there now are 5,721 transplant recipients receiving care in the province.
From a BC Transplant news release:
“Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hospital-based critical care teams — which play a key role in identifying organ donors — referred potential donors to the 24/7 BC Transplant clinical referral line a record 775 times in 2021 (a 25 per cent increase over 2020). This demonstrates how organ donation is increasingly becoming a normal part of quality end-of-life care in hospital. . . .
“As of Dec. 31, 2021, 585 people still were waiting for organ transplants in B.C. British Columbians are encouraged to take two minutes and register as an organ donor, then share their decision with family: www.taketwominutes.ca.
Five of Russel Stevenson’s organs — liver, pancreas, lungs and both kidneys — were transplanted after the 58-year-old from Vernon, B.C., died during 2021.
“His heart was bigger than he was,” his wife, Sylvie, told Brendan Shykora of the Vernon Morning Star. “Russel was a kind, gentle and caring husband. He always made sure everyone around us was safe and happy and he wanted to take care of all of them . . .
“Knowing that Russ is still alive and living on in someone else is soothing for me. It gives me great pleasure to know that someone has a second chance.”
Ed Yong has written an article for The Atlantic that carries this title: The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo. . . . The story details what those people who live with compromised immune systems have been going through as they try to stay healthy in these pandemic times. . . . If you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth your time. And if you have friends or family who don’t understand the energy that has to be expended to keep up with things and to avoid iffy situations, it might be worth forwarding the link. . . . That story is right here.
“A new first-of-its-kind study out of Canada has discovered a way to make ‘universal’ organs that could be used in all transplant recipients regardless of their blood type,” writes Irelyne Lavery of Global News. . . . Dr. Marcelo Cypel, surgical director of the Ajmera Transplant Centre at Toronto’s University Health Network, and senior author of the study, tells Lavery: “We’ll create a much more equal and fair distribution of donor organs to patients on the waitlist.” . . . The complete story is right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.
Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca