Islanders can now register online to donate organs, tissues
Cathy Binette knows first-hand the power of an organ donation – and she encourages Islanders to use a new online tool to register to be a donor.
Binette received a kidney 20 years ago from a friend as part of the first friend-to-friend organ donation in Atlantic Canada. Health PEI has made it easier for Islanders to become organ and tissue donors through a new interactive version of the Intent to Donate Registry.
“Her gift has allowed me to live dialysis free and experience a full life with my daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchild,” Binette said. “As someone who has been given the gift of time, I strongly encourage every Islander who can to consider being a donor, to register their wishes online, and to give someone the gift of life.”
Previously, eligible Islanders had to complete a form and mail it into Health PEI for their wishes to be registered. So far, approximately 19 percent of Islanders have been added to the registry by previously completing the intent to donate form.
“Becoming an organ and tissue donor is one of the greatest gifts you can give,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “This new online registry will make it easier for Islanders to make their wishes known and will provide a more efficient tool for our health care providers.”
Five out of 10 Canadian provinces and territories, including Prince Edward Island, now have a web-based intent to donate registry. The province’s new Intent to Donate Registry will only be linked to the new provincial health card; the red heart currently found on the driver’s license and government issued voluntary ID will be phased out by 2019.
Over the past 10 years, 32 Islanders have donated tissues and approximately 15 have donated an organ. Nearly 900 Islanders were recipients of donated tissues and 100 were organ recipients.
Many lives can be saved through organ donation (heart, liver, pancreas, small bowel, kidneys, and lungs) after death. Individuals can also be living donors by donating one of their kidneys or a portion of their liver or lung. Donating tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, corneas, eyes and heart valves can enhance the life of someone who has been burned, or who has vision or mobility problems.
There are currently 27 Islanders waiting for an organ transplant.
“It is very important for Islanders to take the time to register their wishes and have the discussion with their families so they are not left making the decision during a very difficult time,” says Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplant Manager Angela Carpenter. “We hope that the interactive version of the online registry will make it easier for individuals to make their wishes known. It will certainly make it easier for health care providers to access the information and reconfirm a patient’s intent before speaking with families.”
During National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week April 23-29, several health care facilities across the province will be lit up in green at night in support of organ and tissue donation.
Senior Communications Officer