As of Dec. 31, 2022, there were 88 patients on the kidney transplant wait list in Saskatchewan.
While that number is down by approximately 50 patients since 2021, organ donation numbers are still not enough to meet demand.
Organ transplant recipient Jessica Bailey said this news doesn’t surprise her.
“I think people don’t really understand how much of a normal life they could live after donating a kidney,” Bailey said.
Bailey received a kidney in November that she had been waiting on for four years.
“Every day you are waiting. You don’t know if you are going to live to see tomorrow.”
She said that the longer a patient waits on the transplant list, the less change they have to receive a healthy transplant.
“It’s so important and it’s like the gift of life,” said Bailey. “There’s nothing better that you can give, obviously, than a chance at life.”
The Ministry of Health invested $21.6 million in surgery for 2022/2023 to begin a three-year program to eliminate the COVID-19 surgical backlog by 2025.
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A statement from the Saskatchewan Health Authority claimed that they are “working to adjust and increase surgical volumes by focusing improvements on orthopedic surgery volumes, investing in health system human resources, and expanding involvement of private sector partners in surgical service delivery.”
Bailey said that if the health authority wants to speed up the surgical backlog, they need to change some of their processes and advocate for transplant programs.
During the transplant process, she had two willing donors. Each was required to simultaneously go through testing programs.
“All the testing took about a year, which would be something I’d love for them to change in the transplant program,” she said. “For them to be able to test more than one person at a time.”
Bailey said that in the future, she hopes the health authority will do more advocating for transplant programs.
“It’s the best thing you could ever give. I don’t know what else much to say about that.”