26 September 2023

Call for organ donors to save more lives

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A few hundred organ donors saved the lives of 1,224 Australians in last year 2022, but a recent report indicates that more donors are still needed.

Commenting on the 2022 Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report, the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney said the report revealed early indications that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic had begun, with donor and transplant numbers increasing towards pre-pandemic levels.

“Thanks to the generosity of 454 organ donors, and their families who said yes to donation, 1,224 Australian received a life-saving organ transplant in 2022,” Ms Kearney said.

“An eight per cent increase in deceased organ donors and a four per cent increase in the number of people who received a transplant from 2021 shows early signs,” she said.

“The report shows that around one third of Australian organ donors did so at Victorian hospitals – 144 generous Victorians becoming organ donors in 2022 alone, resulting in life-saving transplants for 371 people.”

Ms Kearney said Victoria was leading the nation’s recovery with the highest number of donors, and a 30 per cent increase in donation since 2021.

She said pressures on hospitals, restricted family visits, increased risks to immunosuppressed patients and staffing all created challenges.

She said that since the pandemic began, the number of organ donors and people who’d received a transplant had dropped by 15 per cent, while the number of families saying ‘yes’ to donation decreased to 54 per cent, down from 59 per cent in 2019.

“Very few people get the chance to be an organ donor – only around two per cent of people who die in hospital can be considered,” the Assistant Minister said.

“Increasing the number of people and families who say ‘yes’ to donation is critical to saving more lives.”

She said around eight in 10 families said ‘yes’ to donation if their family member was registered, but this dropped to four in 10 if their family didn’t know they wanted to be a donor.

“For around 1,800 Australians on the waitlist for an organ transplant, it can be a matter of life and death,” Ms Kearney said.

“A further 14,000 people are on dialysis, some who may benefit from a kidney transplant,” she said.

“Registering and telling your family that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is easy.”

Further information on registering as an organ donor can be accessed at this PS News link.

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