Friday, 29 November 2013

Giving the Gift of Life

Today, 11 people in North Simcoe and Muskoka are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. They are registered on a list with 1,500 others across the province who are also waiting for a miracle: the gift of life. These individuals may be our friends, our family, our colleagues or our neighbours, but more often than not, they are complete strangers to us. Every three days one of these people will die waiting because the call saying that a transplant match is available didn’t come in time.

If you knew you could save up to eight lives and transform as many as 75 others with one selfless act of kindness, would you?

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is very proud to join Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) in working to save lives through organ and tissue donation. On November 19, 2013, we became a designated hospital under the Trillium Gift of Life Network Act legislation. By implementing policies and procedures around what they call “Routine Notification”, we are required to report impending patient death to TGLN so that their specially trained staff can identify potential donors and approach families to re-affirm consent.

By implementing this formal program, we hope that more lives will be saved through donation. This legislation has been implemented at other hospitals in Ontario and has been successful in increasing donations. Over the past five years, 11 people in the area serviced by our hospitals have received a life-saving organ transplant, and through this program, I’m confident that number will continue to grow.

We also hope that by participating in this program we can raise more awareness about the need for organ and tissue donors and inspire more people to register their donation decision in the donor registry. Across our region, the donor registration rate varies among communities. In Bracebridge, 41% of eligible health card holders have signed up to be an organ or tissue donor. In Gravenhurst, 36% have registered their consent, and in Huntsville the number is 40%.

MAHC supports a culture that enables every Ontarian to make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation and supports health care professionals in implementing those decisions.

Please help us lead by example. Just one more registered donor can mean everything for the family of someone on the waiting list, because when registered, 90% of the time families honoured their loved one’s donation decision. When not registered, only 60% of families consent to organ and tissue donation.
Have you registered your consent for organ and tissue donation? I encourage you to take the time to consider becoming a donor. It’s quite amazing when you think that one donor can mean the difference between life and death for someone on the waiting list.

Our organization is committed to doing our part and we're asking everyone at both of our hospital sites in Bracebridge and Huntsville to consider registering their consent for organ and tissue donation. We're also asking them to ask their friends and family to register as well. Please visit our Be A Donor campaign drive webpage at and help give the gift of life by becoming an organ and tissue donor today!

You may also visit any ServiceOntario centre to register your consent, or fill out a Gift of Life consent form and mail it in. This ensures that your donation decision is accessible when needed. For more information, please visit