London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is a provincial leader in organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Since 2002, organ and tissue donation in Ontario has been regulated through Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN). There is a provincial government mandate stating that all deaths in patients between the ages of 36 weeks (corrected gestational) and 80 years must be reported to TGLN to facilitate the opportunity for tissue donation. There is no age limit on required notifications to TGLN when it comes to organ donation - every patient in any of the intensive care units or emergency departments as well as any patient in the hospital requesting Medical Assistance in Dying must be referred to TGLN prior to death. Speaking with families at end of life about organ and tissue donation is considered an essential part of quality end of life care.
One organ donor can save up to 8 lives and a tissue donor can benefit up to 75 individuals. Unfortunately, only one percent of those who die in hospital end up becoming an organ donor. Currently in Ontario, there are approximately 1500 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants. For those who are waiting for an organ transplant, this is often their only option. Sadly every 3 days in Ontario, someone dies while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. While new innovations in medicine and technology are increasing the success of organ transplantation, nothing is possible without an organ donor.
If you are interested in learning more about donation, the TGLN website has a wide scope of information including frequently asked questions, support for donor families and statistics. There is also a section for healthcare professionals including resources. At LHSC, there are two organ and tissue donation coordinators (OTDCs) available to talk to physicians, nursing staff, patients and families about donation opportunities. The OTDCs can also be scheduled to present to larger groups (health care professionals, school classes, public service groups, etc.). The OTDCs can be reached at 519-685-8500 ext 74714 or ext 77891.
Please visit the TGLN website for more information. Patients and families can also call TGLN directly at 1-800-263-2833.
Register your wishes:
When families know their loved one's wishes, they are more likely to consent to organ donation. Currently, only 33% of Ontarians have registered their wishes to donate. By registering your wishes and speaking with loved ones, your family will be more able to honour your wishes at the end of life. Registering is easy and takes under two minutes. Visit https://www.beadonor.ca/ to register today.
Education about organ and tissue donation is essential in assuring that everyone has complete and accurate information.
Our Transplant Program has been a “partner in education” with secondary schools throughout Southwestern Ontario for many years. Transplant staff at LHSC worked with education specialists to develop a unit of study about donation and transplantation for Grade 11 health students. This educational program – One Life…Many Gifts – was developed because local co-op students and student surveys identified the need for a formal educational experience that answered the many questions of these young adults. Find out more about the development of One Life…Many Gifts.