Organ donor coordinators worth paying for

Kamloops Daily News
October 14, 2011 01:00 AM

Sixty per cent of British Columbians feel government is not doing a good job in managing health care in the province, according to a recent Ipsos-Reid survey.

Forty-five per cent of respondents thought government should go so far as to limit health care spending to 50 per cent of the total provincial budget.

People don't like to feel their hard-earned tax dollars are going into a black hole. Public perception tends to be that too much money is spent on health managers with not enough going toward front line workers.

But now and then, government surprises us with a sensible spending decision, such as one this week that will see organ donor coordinators hired to work in five B.C. hospitals.

Doctors in working in intensive care had felt uncomfortable asking families - whose loved ones they were not able to save - if they wanted to donate the deceased person's organs.

So the province opted to take a page from Ontario and create organ donor coordinator positions over the next six months. Kelowna General, Vancouver General and Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster will be the first three with the other two locations soon to be chosen by BC Transplant, the agency that pays the coordinators' wages.

As of July, there were more than 300 British Columbians waiting for organ transplants in this province, and a "chronic" shortage of hearts, lungs, kidneys and livers, according to BC Transplant. Last year, 25 people died while waiting for a transplant.

Families can sign a donor consent form on behalf of their deceased loved one, but if people don't know about the program, they certainly aren't going to consider it.

There are 4.5 million people who live in B.C. but only 801,000 people registered on B.C.'s organ donor registry. That's an untapped pool of lot of people who might be willing to help save the life of another.

Having a dedicated organ donor coordinator working in the province's busiest hospitals will surely encourage more folks to consider the option.

All the better if Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops is chosen to receive one of the remaining two coordinators, but regardless, we say the initiative is a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.


© Kamloops Daily News

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