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Second highest kidney transplant numbers recorded in Saskatchewan

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Second highest kidney transplant numbers recorded in Saskatchewan
The Government of Saskatchewan is saying it's breaking records when it comes to organ and tissue donation. As Global's Easton Hamm reports, it may help save the lives of many others. – Jul 6, 2023

Forty-six adult kidney transplants were performed from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, the second-highest number to ever be recorded in the province.

The government of Saskatchewan said these numbers were possible due to a record number of deceased donors – 30 – during the period.

“There are currently 800 Saskatchewan adult and pediatric residents living with a donated organ,” read a release from the government.

The release stated that 276 patients also donated ocular tissue, which helps recipients with poor eyesight.

“There was a culture shift in the province of Saskatchewan with regards to organ donation and transplantation,” said Saskatoon transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Moser.

Moser said that most people feel uncomfortable talking about becoming a donor because it involves the subject of human mortality.

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“There have been a lot of factors that have contributed to this culture shift and getting people talking and of course one of the best examples was Logan Boulet himself,” Moser said.

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Logan Boulet was one of 16 people who died in April 2018 when a truck driver blew a stop sign and drove into the path of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus.

Five weeks prior, he had signed up to be an organ donor.

Six people across Canada benefited from Boulet’s organs and the Logan Boulet Effect soon followed. Nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in the two months after learning the player had signed his donor card.

“There have been a lot of positive changes. We are encouraged by the discussions around presumed consent and there has been a lot of support to in getting out to the schools, high schools, and that and educating the next generation,” Moser said.

He said even amongst the positivity, the nation is still losing 25 to 30 per cent of patients who are waiting for transplants.

“Patients who are waiting for a transplant have often been dealing with organ failure for a long time, spending a lot of time in hospitals and not knowing if they’ll get the transplant they need in time,” Moser said.

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“Once they do receive their transplant, which is often called ‘the gift of life,’ most patients experience a remarkable turnaround almost immediately.”

The government said that only 32 per cent of Canadians have registered to be a donor.

– With files from Global News’ Colette Derworiz

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