Doctors register consent for organ and tissue...
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Jul 15, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Doctors register consent for organ and tissue donation

New study shows 43 per cent of Ontario doctors have registered their consent to donate their organs and tissue, debunking the myth that doctors don’t work as hard to save registered donors


When it comes to organ and tissue donation, Ontario doctors set the bar high.

A new study shows 43 per cent of provincial physicians have registered consent with the database to donate organs and tissue, far exceeding the general population’s 24 per cent.

“As physicians we see the impact,” says Dr. Sonny Dhanani, a pediatric intensivist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “We’re very comfortable with the decision to register.”

The premise of the study was to assure the public that doctors do everything possible to save lives — regardless of a person’s decision to donate.

“When we survey the public both in Canada and abroad, one of the common unfounded myths, which is totally incorrect, is that physicians will not try as hard to take all measures to save your life if you registered for organ and tissue donation,” says Dr. Amit Garg, the study’s lead author and a kidney specialist from London Health Sciences Centre.

The study, called Physician Registration for Deceased Organ Donation and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to measure organ donor registration rates among physicians. It was conducted by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in partnership with Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN).

Authors accessed the information of 15,000 Ontario physicians, about 60 per cent of the total. They compared them to people of similar sociodemographic background and then to the general population. Doctors had higher registration rates than both groups.

“We know that for all patients the first duty is to save lives,” says Dhanani. “It’s only when treatment is futile, with catastrophic injuries, that the option of organ and tissue donation is even brought up.”

Trauma doctors don’t know who has registered consent when they are working on patients, Garg notes.

Because those working in the organ and tissue transplantation area would like to see registration numbers higher, they did the study to debunk the myth and show that physicians are leading from the front, Garg says.

Dhanani says that about 30 per cent of families who refuse to donate come to regret their decision. “If those families thought about it early enough and were able to donate, I think it would’ve improved their grieving process and also saved many lives,” he says.

Toronto Star

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