Studies show that 94% of Australians support the concept of organ donation and more than one-third of the country's population has signed organ donation registers, yet in 2007 only 198 citizens donated organs.I can recall hearing many years ago that Australia was a leader and held up as an example of how organ transplantation is such a marvel and a wonderful life-saving gift.
Only 198 citizens donated organs? Well, why is it so?
Firstly it is because the option to be an organ donor is an opt-in thing. It used to be a sticker on your driver's license. Of course, your wishes could always be overruled by your family/next of kin. If they did not agree with organ donation they could object and you'd take your bits to heaven with you.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, the number of people whose organs are suitable for donation and subsequent transplantation has decreased with the stricter drink driving rules, and also with the implementation of safety measures like compulsory seat belts.
The number of suitable donors has decreased markedly since the introduction of strict drink-driving limits.
Actually, there's a lot of interesting reading at that site, if you've got time to have a peruse - click on the 2 a the bottom of the page and you'll see a whole lot of interesting articles in the March 2008 issue of Transplant News.
If you are interested in becoming an Australian organ donor please visit Medicare Australia's Organ Donor Register site. More information and you can register consent or objection to your organ/tissue donation. Discuss your decision with your family/next of kin so that they are aware of your wishes.
I do know someone who needs a liver. Unfortunately a partial liver transplant won't do it for him. I'd like to see him survive his illness, he's a very kind and caring man and shouldn't miss out if there's one available.
To anyone out there who has lost a loved one and their organs have been used to benefit others I say a hearfelt thankyou. An amazing gift at such a terrible time is very special.