Organ and Tissue Donation – A Lakeridge Health Initiatave

Through a variety of awareness and knowledge improvement programs for staff, and organ and tissue donation policies that reflect a high level of standard practice, Lakeridge Health Corporation provides organ and tissue donation as an essential service to its patients and families at end-of-life.

With five hospitals located in Bowmanville, Oshawa, Port Perry, Uxbridge and Whitby, Lakeridge Health’s vision is to work with its health partners to promote health and deliver excellence in care to more than 500,000 people in Durham Region’s urban and rural communities. The talents of over 3,500 staff and physicians combine to realize this vision by using their expertise, energy and commitment to putting patients first.

To-date, literature has indicated that one of the reasons for the low number of organ and tissue donations has been that health-care staff did not approach families. Lakeridge Health is committed to increasing the number of organ and tissue donations at all five hospitals and has an Organ Donor Coordinator on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week.

In February 1999, organ and tissue donation was included in the orientation for new staff at Lakeridge Health. As a result, the number of eye donations increased by 133 per cent in one year. Community volunteers from the Lions Clubs across Durham Region transport eyes to the Eye Bank in Toronto, where they are stored until a recipient is matched.

In 1999 and 2000, Lakeridge Health was one of the top ten eye donor centers in Ontario. A certificate of appreciation from the Eye Bank of Canada recognized the dedication and commitment of the administration and staff.

“It takes a team of volunteers, staff, physicians and most importantly a donor, to make it happen,” says Sandy Yorke, Lakeridge Health’s Liaison between Community Volunteers and the Durham Region Organ and Tissue Donation Committee. “A group of family physicians from Lakeridge Health Bowmanville developed a very successful partnership with the community Palliative Care Program. Eye donation is now offered to palliative care patients and their families as part of their end-of-life care.” The Eye Bank of Canada identified them specifically for their increase in eye donations.

While at Lakeridge Health Oshawa, the emergency room staff, operating room staff, critical care staff, neurologists, internists, and anesthetists provide support for multiple donors and their families. This includes on site Multiple Organ Retrieval in cooperation with the Multiple Organ Retrieval and Exchange (MORE) teams from Toronto.

By signing your organ donor card and making your wishes known to your family, you too can help save another person’s life. It only takes one multiple organ donor to benefit 11 recipients through improved quality of life, increased productivity and better health.

As waiting lists grow the donor rate remains static, at times declining. People are dying, when a donor may have saved their life. Everyone should have the opportunity and the right to decide to participate or not participate in organ and tissue donation. However, donation is not possible without family consent. It is important for family members to know and respect one another’s wishes.

For more information about Lakeridge Health’s Organ and Tissue Donation Program or The Durham Region Organ and Tissue Donation Volunteer Committee please contact 905-576-8711 ext. 2089, and leave a message. Your call will be returned within 24 hours.

Download a donor card at the Ministry of Health’s website