We woke this morning to read that our Federal Government has ordered an independent review of Australia’s organ donation system.
They say that the $250 million investment has not led to the intended rise in transplant numbers.
This has all sprung to life because the recent monthly figures show that there has been a fall in the number of Australian organ donors over the last two years.
Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash is quoted as saying that “we are seeing relatively slow progress over the last six years” and that she has “had some concerns and thought we need to have a look at this”.
Then when I got to work, I was notified of a segment on the morning TV show, Sunrise….that one of the hosts, David Koche, had resigned from his position of chairman of the Organ and Tissue Authority’s advisory council live on air this morning.
I quickly watched the segment, and was worried to find that it seems that many of the facts and figures quoted by the government, were actually not put in context.
But the trouble is who do you believe?
However, the cold hard fact remains that there are far too many people on organ waiting lists then there are donors, no matter which side you are on of this argument you are on.
That’s the reality of organ donation here in Australia…and changing it is a slow and complex process.
I am not qualified to give any answer or solution, but I do know firsthand what it is like to be on the waiting list, plus I am a registered organ donor.
I am very relieved that my husband is not on the waiting list anymore…he waited 14 months but is one of the lucky ones that got a donor liver in time, and has recovered without complications.
But he may need another in the future…
And we feel so much for those who are facing an uncertain future while waiting for a donor organ…this news can only make a very difficult time even more stressful.
There is one thing that I do believe should be looked into…the fact that loved ones can overrule your wishes to be an organ donor, even if you have registered…some people are unaware that this can happen.
According to the Government, a loved one’s wish was overturned on 37% of occasions…
Donatelife has quoted that 40% of families have not given consent despite the person being registered.
I did find this figure surprisingly high, because when we did the interview with Specialist Nursing Coordinator Leanne McEvoy and Intensive Care Physician Doctor Cameron Knott, they said that it rarely happens…but the point is it can….and it does.
In fact, I heard of one happening last week, where the wife flatly refused even though her husband was registered.
That to me is a very strange ruling…if you have registered by signing the relevant form, then why should someone deny you of that?
What right has anyone to take away that choice?
At a very stressful and heartbreaking time, this should be one less decision that needs to be made…if the person is a registered organ donor, then that decision should be honoured wherever possible.
Everyone around us knows that we are organ donors…I made known my decision as a teenager, and signed up as soon as I was old enough.
So we will be following the developments of this review closely, and just hope that all the key players in this can bond over the common goal of improving all aspects of the organ donation process.
What a wonderful world it would be if no one had to wait months, or even years, for donor organs…
If you have any questions, or would like to know more about what it is like to be a waiting list and to be a liver transplant recipient, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
To find out more about organ donation in Australia, or to register as an organ donor, click here to go to the DonateLife website.