Today’s Poll

MAJORITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIANS THINK THEY ARE REGISTERED ORGAN DONORS — MOST ARE NOT

Contributor
By Contributor
April 27th, 2014

Ninety-five percent of British Columbians support the idea of donating a kidney to someone in need, according to a survey released by The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC Branch during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (April 20-27).

When an Ipsos online survey* conducted in the last week of March asked British Columbians “Are you registered as an organ donor?”

Fifty-one percent of the British Columbians surveyed said yes, yet only 19% of all British Columbians are actually registered on BC’s organ donor registry.

Karen Philp, Executive Director of the BC Branch of the Kidney Foundation, says the gap between those saying they are registered and the official record is because BC’s organ donor registration process is misunderstood.

“Almost two thirds of people we surveyed said they registered with their driver’s licence, but BC has not had that process in place since 1997,” says Philp. “Clearly the lack of clarity about how to register is a barrier. Our survey shows that British Columbians are ready and willing to give the gift of life, but may be unable to because they are not actually registered as an organ donor.”

“Transplantation is clearly the best treatment for patients with kidney failure, transplant recipient living longer, have a better quality of life, and consume fewer health care resources than patients treated with dialysis, said Dr. John Gill, a leading clinician scientist in the field of kidney transplantation in Canada.

“However the need for kidney transplantation exceeds the number of donated organs, and many patients who could benefit never receive a transplant. We know Canadians strongly support organ donation, yet most do not operationalize their intention to donate by registering as organ donors.

“If everyone who supported donation actually donated, waiting lists could be dramatically reduced if not eliminated and many lives would be saved. Any initiative that increases awareness, and makes it easier for Canadians indicate their intention to donate is a positive step.”

Bonnie Leclerc, a dialysis patient in Quesnel waiting for a kidney transplant, said, “More people registered means there is a greater chance of a kidney match for me. What a donated kidney would mean for me and my family is hard to put into words. We need to make it easier for people to register to be an organ donor. ”

There is no cure for kidney disease, and the best available therapy for most people on dialysis is a kidney transplant. The demand for kidney transplants far outweighs the supply. Demand has increased by 60% over the past ten years, and the need for organs is projected to grow significantly over the next two decades.

The BC Branch of The Kidney Foundation of Canada has talked to the provincial government about options to improve the current situation. The goal is to make it easier for British Columbians to register either online or in person at a BC Services Centre.

“Any step that removes public confusion and increases the number of registered organ donors, gives hope to kidney patients and their families,” said Philp.

“Far too many British Columbians die waiting for a kidney. Registering your intent to donate can make a meaningful difference.”

The Kidney Foundation of Canada encourages anyone who thinks they registered through their driver’s licence, to check with the BC Online Organ Donor Registry which can be accessed at www.kidney.bc.ca.

Quick Facts:

  • The Ipsos sample size was 811, with a margin of error +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20, and was conducted March 2014. Additional results included:
  • 15.7% of adult British Columbians surveyed indicated that they registered to donate through the BC online organ donation registry, which officially records a 19% registration rate. The difference is that the BC online registry includes both yes and no registrations as well as including all British Columbians of any age who want to donate an organ. The 2014 Ipsos survey included BC residents over the age of 18 who said yes.
  • 82% of survey respondents said they would donate one of their kidneys while still alive, to a close friend or family member.
  • 35% of respondents said they would do the same for someone they don’t know

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