April 3, 2019 8:43 pm

Transplant Québec says it is time to update province’s organ donation laws

Transplant Québec officials are keeping a close eye on Nova Scotia's bill to make organ donation implied, unless the person opts out. Dr. Prosanto Chaudhury, a transplant surgeon with Transplant Québec, discusses the issues surrounding presumed consent.

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Officials at Transplant Québec are closely following Nova Scotia‘s organ donation bill, which would include presumed consent.

“It is probably time to re-examine these issues around organization donation legislation in Quebec,” said Dr. Prosanto Chaudhury,  a transplant surgeon with the organization.

If passed, Nova Scotia would become the first jurisdiction in North America to have a presumed consent for organ donation.

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“We will be watching with great interest to see how presumed consent is accepted in Nova Scotia,” said Chaudhury.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia could be 1st jurisdiction in North America to adopt presumed consent for organ donations

There are currently 4.9 million Quebecers on two different registries who have already either officially given their consent to being organ donors or who have opted out.

Chaudhury says presumed consent is just one new tool to consider when it comes to encouraging organ donation.

“It is by no means the only answer or magic bullet that will fix the shortage of donors,” said Chaudhury.

WATCH: Nova Scotia to become 1st in North America to adopt presumed consent for organ donations

He also says that presumed consent legislation in South America as well as in England and Wales led to a reduction in organ donations.

Instead, he would like to see something called “mandatory notification” added to Quebec legislation. Mandatory notification would require those who work in hospitals to inform transplant organizations of impending deaths so that the donor can be screened to see if they are even eligible to donate.

About 1.5 per cent of hospital deaths in Quebec can result in a successful organ donation.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan recognizes Green Shirt Day to encourage organ donation

For those who worry about presumed consent, Chaudhury points out that the jurisdictions that have it also have a a family veto clause that would allow the family members to say no.

There are currently over 800 people in Quebec waiting for an organ donor.

Transplant Québec encourages people to make their donation wishes known to their families.

The organization is currently in the midst of a publicity campaign that culminates at the end of April with National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week.

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