Australia has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the developed world, with only 13 donors for every million people. A figure which doesn’t quite tally with the quoted 77% of Australians who are generally willing to consider organ donation. So where are we going wrong?
Organ and tissue donation is an individual’s choice but it is a choice which should be discussed with family and friends. Only 60% per cent of families give consent for the organs of a loved one to be used after their death, many refusing because they don’t know what were the wishes of the deceased.
19 to 26 February is Donate Life Week and people are encouraged to discuss organ donation and whether they wish their organs to be used to give life to another. In 2011 337 deceased Australians donated their organs, saving or improving the lives of 1001 others. While these figures are an improvement on the previous year, they fall short of the help needed for the 16000 people on transplant waiting lists.
Whether you are for or against organ donation, let someone know, it will make the decision for your family easier should the question arise. Or go one step further and consider registering as an organ donor with Medicare.
If you need more information to help you make and informed decision, visit www.donatelife.gov.au