Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ontario makes it easier to become an organ donor

Ontarians can now become registered organ donors with the click of a mouse

TORONTO, June 14, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - For the first time ever, Ontarians can now register as organ and tissue donors online through a new web site, Every registered donor has the potential to save up to eight lives.

Previously, Ontarians could only register as organ and tissue donors in person at a ServiceOntario centre or by downloading, completing and mailing a Gift of Life Consent Form.

By logging onto Ontarians can also confirm their current status as an organ donor. Many Ontarians mistakenly believe that the signed donor card they carry in their wallet means they are registered, and that is not the case, as this card pre-dates Ontario's registry.

"Getting more Ontarians registered as organ and tissue donors is critically important to prevent needless deaths on the waiting list and to cut the wait time for patients in need of a transplant," said Dr. Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN). "By making it possible to register online, we've made it easier for Ontarians who haven't yet registered because they didn't know how or it wasn't convenient."

While over 80 per cent of Ontarians believe that giving consent to donate in advance of their death is an important thing to do, less than 20 per cent of eligible Ontarians have registered their consent to donate organs and tissue.

"As long as people are waiting for organs and tissue donations, it's important that we make registering to become an organ and tissue donor as quick and easy as possible. This online donor registry will give hope to over 1,500 Ontarians, and their families, who are currently on the waiting list." Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care.

"It is important for us to create an awareness and make it easier for organ donors to register. The new online donor registration service is another example of ServiceOntario's commitment to make it easier for Ontarians to access key government services, simply at the click of a button," said Harinder S. Takhar, Minister of Government Services.

By registering consent to donate, an individual's information is recorded and stored in a secure Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database so it can be made available to families at the right time, for the purpose of ensuring the patient's donation decision is known and respected. With evidence of their loved ones' registered consent, almost all families consent to organ donation.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

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