Body & Organ Donation – is this for you?
On your Arrangement Form with the Memorial Society, you may have noticed that there are check boxes for the donation of ‘ORGAN(s)’ and ‘BODY.’ Here is some information on these two options – to help you to make an informed decision about whether this is something you would like to consider.
The Body Donation Program (BDP) in BC is managed by the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. Since 1950, BDP provides real life training to the next generation of doctors, dentists, and health care professionals. Each year more than 1,000 individuals are trained, each of whom will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of many thousands in the coming decades. Body donors are part of a community that selflessly gives back to support anatomical education, medical training, and scientific research.
Individuals interested in donating their bodies are required to complete two consent forms. One copy is returned to UBC and the other deposited with a family member or physician, who will be in a position to carry out the donor’s wishes at the appropriate time.
As soon as possible after death, the executor, next of kin or health care professional must contact the UBC Body Donation Program. A condition of acceptance to the program is that the body must be received within 72 hours of death.
After being notified of a death, the team undertakes the important step of determining the donor’s suitability by speaking with the donor’s physician. Once accepted, they will make all of the necessary arrangements and cover all costs for transport to UBC by an approved and licensed transport provider. If the body is not accepted into the program, it will be the responsibility of the executor or next of kin to proceed with alternate arrangements. Contact the Memorial Society of BC for contracted funeral providers.
For more information on UBC Body Donation Program, click here. (link to https://cps.med.ubc.ca/body-donation/#about-the-program-why-donate)
Organ donation in BC is managed by BC Transplant, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.
First and foremost the duty of health care providers is to save lives. Donation is only considered after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted and it is certain a patient will not survive. Donor registration records are confidential, and only accessible by the donation team at BC Transplant. In addition, BC’s Human Tissue Gift Act states that the death of a potential organ donor must be declared by two doctors, independent of transplant.
If nothing more can be done for the patient, the ICU physician will contact BC Transplant. Their team will look up if the patient has registered in the Organ Donor Registry. If an individual has, they will print out the form to show to the family during the organ donation conversation. If the patient has not registered a decision, their loved ones can make the decision on their behalf. Organs from deceased donors are then allocated without prejudice following a comprehensive review and assessment process.
To become a deceased organ donor in BC, a person must be on life support in a critical care unit, with no hope of recovery. Only 1% of deaths in BC occur in a way that would enable someone to become an organ donor. BC Transplant will only retrieve organs from a donor if there is a suitable match recipient. There is no age limit to who can be an organ donor, in fact, the oldest organ donation in Canada was 92 years old.
At all times throughout the donation process, a donor is treated with utmost respect. After the surgical recovery of the organs, the donor’s body is released back to the family.
To learn more about the BC Transplant and to register as an Organ Donor, click here. (link to http://www.transplant.bc.ca/organ-donation/register-as-an-organ-donor)
Living Organ Donation
BC Transplant also oversees the Living Organ Donation program in BC. Living organ donation is an act of altruism that reduces the wait time for patients in need of a life-saving kidney or liver. All living donation is managed through Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) Pre-Assessment Transplant Clinics. For more information, click here.