When you think of it, organ donation is nothing more than recycling really. If you have something you can no longer make use of but someone else could, isn’t it reasonable to offer it to them?
But despite the obvious analogy, and Australia’s alleged mateship culture, our country – and particularly NSW – has some of the lowest organ donation rates in the developed world.
And the even greater irony is that our transplant success rate is very high.
Some 90 per cent of Aussies support organ and tissue donation ‘in principle’ but less than half have put their names on the National Organ Donor registry.
Around 1600 people are on Australia’s organ transplant waiting lists. On average, people on the list can wait from six months to four years. In some cases people die on the waiting lists.
And Australia’s family consent rate is very low, with less than 60 per cent of families giving consent for organ and tissue donation to proceed.
So Sunday’s glorious weather was an opportunity to get some family conversations happening, with 170 road cyclists and 50 family cyclists/walkers participating in the Cycle/Walk for Life day at Casuarina.
The event kicked off DonateLife Week, which is being held nationally this week until Sunday (August 9), with residents of the northern rivers being urged to ‘have a chat’ regarding organ and tissue donation.
Last year, 1117 Australian lives were transformed through the generosity of 378 deceased organ donors and their families who agreed to the donation proceeding,’ NNSWLHD donation Medical Specialist, Dr Mike Lindley Jones, said.
‘Our position is: if you are happy to receive an organ donation, then you ought to be happy to give one if the situation should arise.’
Only around one per cent of all hospital deaths occur in the specific circumstances required for a person to be considered for organ donation, although more have the potential. To optimise every opportunity for donation, have the chat that saves lives this DonateLife Week.
‘Even if you have previously made a decision about organ and tissue donation, DonateLife Week is a great opportunity to remind your family about your donation decision, and to ask and know their decision,’ Dr Lindley-Jones said.