For Immediate Release
April 18, 2011
Confirm Your Consent to Organ and Tissue Donation
Register your choice to donate, even if you previously signed a donor card
(Windsor, ON) – Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital is strongly encouraging Windsor-Essex residents to register their consent to organ and tissue donation – even if they had previously signed an organ donor card.
Last summer, the province phased out the paper organ donor consent cards that were mailed to individuals along with driver’s license renewals. While previously signed organ donor cards remain legal consent, there is a risk that if such cards are not found with an individual at the time of death, medical staff will not be able to know for sure whether consent was granted.
Under the donor card system, consent was not recorded in any electronic database and therefore consent could not be verified without the presence of a card. Under the new registration system, Ontarians who register their consent to organ and tissue donation will have their decision to donate stored in a secure Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database.
“The donor card system had been used in Ontario for many years, so it is understandable that members of the public may not be fully aware of changes to the consent process,” said Paula Schmidt, Organ and Tissue Donation Co-ordinator at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital.
“Registration of a decision to consent is the only sure method to ensure that your wishes are known and shared with family members and loved ones at the time of death,” Schmidt said. “It is also one way Ontarians can help to increase the number of life-saving or life enhancing transplants in this province.”
Residents can easily register their consent in one of the following two ways:
Print and mail back a signed Gift of Life Consent Form available at www.giftoflife.ca Call 1-800-263-2833 to have a consent form mailed to youRegister your consent to donate at a Service Ontario office when you renew your photo health card.
Only 18.5 per cent of Ontarians, and 12 per cent of Windsor residents, have registered their consent. Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital urges residents to make sure their consent is known in order to help save the lives of the 1,500 Ontarians waiting for a life-saving transplant.
Every three days, an Ontario resident dies while waiting for a transplant, including people such as Windsor police officer Rob Jones, who died in 2008 while waiting for a liver transplant. His daughter, Bianca, spoke at L’Essor High School in Tecumseh on Monday to remind students about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week runs April 17 to April 23.
Register your consent and talk with your family about your decision to give the gift of life. One conversation can make all the difference for the future.
For more information contact Steve Erwin, Director of Communications at 519-973-4433.