Victoria's Best Ever Organ Donation Results as DonateLife Week 2014 Kicks Off
All Victorians were urged to keep up their unprecedented support for organ and tissue donation, as the Minister for Health launched “DonateLife Week 2014” at Parliament House today alongside leaders from parliament, community, hospitals, donor families and transplant recipients.
The announcement that in 2013, Victoria’s 110 donors, a 20% increase over 2012,the highest ever, represented the selfless decisions of many to give new life to others - 286 people were able to have life-changing organ transplants last year, an increase of 7% over 2012.
Victoria’s total number of organ donors has doubled since 2007, up from just 55 that year.
DonateLife Victoria State Medical Director, Dr Helen Opdam, welcomed the generosity of individuals and families, and the intensive training, dedication and team work of staff right across Victoria’s health services.
“But with organ donation possible in just 1% of all hospital deaths, it is vital that as many people as possible keep making the decision on being a donor, registering that decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and ensuring that their families and loved ones know their wishes,” she said.
“The simple fact is when the rare opportunity arises to donate, the lives of more Australians can be saved because people have thought about this in advance and have let those close to them know their wishes."
Loved ones will always be asked to confirm the wishes of the deceased before donation proceeds. When families know each other’s wishes, 96% of donations proceed, but when they don’t the level drops significantly. DonateLife Week from 23 February to 2 March 2014 offers many activities to raise awareness, asking all Victorians to “Have the chat that saves lives – ask and know your loved ones’ donation decision.”
At any one time there are around 1500 people on organ transplant waiting lists across Australia. One person can transform the lives of up to 10 or more people by becoming an organ and tissue donor.
“At DonateLife Victoria, we know that every single organ donor is an individual life, a family member, a friend, who has given life so others may live in their community,“ said Dr Opdam. “By ensuring we make our own decision to donate, we not only show respect for them but have our own chance to save lives one day.”