Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Portion of Thyself

 In honor of National Organ and Tissue Donor week, which runs April 18th to 25th, I figured I would draw attention to both the process of indicating a willingness to donate as well as some legislation that may help the whole process, considering the dire statistic that only 13 in a million Canadians donate.

A good site that is broken down into provinces is http://www.besthealthmag.ca/organ, which links to several other sites containing information about donations. Health link Alberta also included some "Donations for dummies" bullet points for those who wish to donate but aren't sure where it starts. For those who are too terrified after seeing the old Monty Python skit, I'm afraid you are on your own.

How can I become an organ or tissue donor?
While you are alive:
  • discuss your wishes regarding organ and tissue donation with your family and give them clear directions about what you would like to see done in the event of your death
  • sign the back of your Alberta Health Care card if you wish to be an organ and/or tissue donor
  • If you want to be a living donor, (for kidney, bone marrow or a lobe of the liver only):
  • contact your local Bone Marrow Registry or transplant program
  • find out what your blood group is
  • have your doctor do a medical check-up to ensure that you are healthy
  • make sure that you are coming forward as a donor willingly
  • be aware that the process of becoming a living donor requires about three months of testing, education and communication with your doctor(s)

 In the Alberta legislature Bill 201 is approaching it's third reading, making it mandatory to indicate your decision on organ donation on your health care card, but considering one can answer "yes", "no" or "undecided", I anticipate a large amount of people simply bothering to answer "undecided". The majority will likely answer "yes", likely, so it's still a win, and every life saved by forcing someone to answer about their organs is a win, but it still seems to defeat the purpose including an "undecided" option.

There's also some debate about which card to use, health care, should driver's license be valid, etc. but I agree with the MP's that say this is ridiculously delaying a necessary legislation.

Incidentally, deputy Government House Leader, vice-chair of the Cabinet Policy Committee on Resources and Environment, Rob Renner, went on record saying pursuant the the oil sands, that  "resource belongs to the people of Alberta, and it is Alberta that is responsible for developing that resource". It feels pretty good to have a house official stating it's our sandbox to play in.

The title is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson - "The only gift is a portion of thyself."

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