An Ottawa teen received a double-lung transplant Friday after being diagnosed with a degenerative lung disease last July. Twenty-year-old Hélène Campbell used Twitter (#BeAnOrganDonor) to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and even caught the attention of U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
According to a recent report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 229 patients died waiting for organs in 2010. The overwhelming majority of patients on the waitlist-more than 3,000-were waiting for a kidney.
The demand for organs far exceeds supply as more than 5,600 patients were diagnosed with kidney failure in 2010. The number of donors and number of transplant procedures performed in Canada has remained unchanged since 2006.
Organ donation isn’t only altruistic, it’s economically savvy. According to the CIHI report, a kidney transplant is $250,000 cheaper per patient over a five-year period compared to hemodialysis.
Research from the University of Western Ontario took this one step further. They found that the Ontario organ donor program would save $150 million health care dollars nationwide, if patients currently on the waitlist for kidneys received them. The program works to reimburse living donors, secure their jobs and also improves the quality of life of kidney recipients.
Kidney disease is prominent in my family, as two of my aunts are living with donor kidneys. That’s more than enough to convince me to sign my donor card. How about you?
‘Amy Crofts, web intern