Organ Donations: What You Said
We asked you what you thought about organ donations. Should Canada follow the same opt-out program that Sweden uses so that everyone is automatically signed up? Should donor families and recipients be allowed to meet? Here’s a sampling of what you had to say.
I would like a program like Sweden. Canada should allow contact between donor families and recipients.
It’s so simple and makes so much sense to have a program that automatically makes you an organ donor UNLESS you indicate you don’t want that. I strongly believe in organ donation (I am a donor on my driver’s license). Whether or not the two families should be made aware of each other is really a personal decision. I would probably want to meet the person that had received my child’s organ(s). For me personally it would make the grieving a lot easier.
Donna Pierson Watt
I do not agree with organ donation. If God would have meant us to be a spare parts item we would have the extra bit and pieces that we need to donate or to use for ourselves. When my dad died in 1988 in England, I was relieved that my mum told me that none of his organs could be used because he did not sign his donor’s card. I just could not bare it if something from his body was still living and me not able to have my Dad.
Ask your MP "Why don’t we have presumed consent in Canada?" Raise the issue at candidates meetings in future election campaigns. Make it a local election issue.
I received a heart double lung transplant on July 21, 1992. I have done very well. The most wonderful gift was to get to raise my 2 daughters who at newborn and 4 at the time are now 17 and 21. Shortly after my transplant in 1992, I was encouraged to write a letter to the donor family thanking them which I wholeheartedly did. I was not allowed to tell them many details about myself which I felt in some aspects diminished the deepness of my feelings. At the time I had no real desire to have contact with the family, just to thank them and of course I wanted to respect them. Sometimes donor families just don’t want to meet recipients, it is just enough for them to know that there loved one helped others. My thinking over the years has changed. I would love to meet the family who gave me this wonderful gift and thank them in person but only if they were willing to meet me. I would like to know more about their loved one and honor the life that gave me mine back.
I don’t feel the government or anyone else should have to right to assume that you wish to donate any of your organs. It should be up to the individual to choose by signing a donor card—if they wish to. If they don’t wish to donate, then they should not have to sign anything. It’s is our body and belongs to no one else.
I didn’t even read your articles or debate over the issue because my position won’t change regardless of other people’s opinion. My sister is alive today due to organ donation. She was born with one kidney, which has never worked properly. Without an organ donation her son would be growing up without a mother and her husband would be widowed. My sister now contributes her experience with other kidney recipient candidates, as well as helping educate those of us who have no idea about the topic. So my message to you is this: the greatest act you can achieve is to sign the back of your drivers license and to tell your family that you wish to donate your organs in the event of your sudden death. If you achieve nothing else in your life than that, you will pass from this life as a hero because this single selfless act will save multiple lives.
I think that our driver’s license form should have organ donation consent as the default and automatically become a donor with the option to opt out.
My mother passed at 35 years old when I was just eight year old. My father allowed for my mom’s organs to be donated. Thanks to her there are people in this country who can now see, and get off dialysis. I am proud of my father for making that decision, I’m sure it must have been hard. I think that Sweden’s program is a great one. I can’t think of a reason for someone to opt out but it seems to me that in this country people just don’t take the time to opt in. My donor card is filled out…my family knows my wishes and so does my doctor. I am now 33. Should anything happen to me, I would hope my children would be proud of my decision. As far as meeting the donor’s family…I think that should be up to them.
I am a mother of a donor adult child. When my son Clinton was on life support, his father and I signed the donor papers. I had a conversation with Clinton two weeks before his accident when his grandfather was in hospital with a heart attack and he said he would give grandpa his heart, if he could. When we decided to donate his organs, he helped 8 different people with his gift of life. We have received letters from the people that had received the different organs, tissue and heart valves. Now all of our other children have signed their health cards. I have also signed my health card and driver’s license.
Our organ donor program should be expanded. If I die, I would like to think someone else could carry on living because I chose to be a donor.