EDITORIAL – BC should follow Nova Scotia’s lead regarding presumed consent for organ donation

New Nova Scotia legislation recently made headlines across the nation, for all the right reasons.

Earlier this month, Nova Scotia became the first jurisdiction in North America to implement presumed consent around organ donation.

What that means is everyone is considered a consenting organ donor when they die, unless they specifically opt out.

RELATED: Nova Scotia’s presumed consent organ donation law now in effect

It’s a process that has been legislated in other parts of the world, with overwhelming evidence of its effectiveness.

Spain introduced presumed consent legislation 40 years ago.

In 2019, 14.9 per cent of Spanish residents opted out, meaning 85 per cent of Spanish residents are effectively organ donors. (source: healio.com)

In B.C., where people must register in order to be an organ donor, or ‘opt in’ so to speak, there are currently 1,555,498 registered donors.

That’s less than 31 per cent.

According to transplant.bc.ca, there are 736 patients currently awaiting transplants in our province.

Canadian Blood Services states “90 per cent of Canadians approve of organ and tissue donation yet, only 23 per cent say they have registered their decision to become an organ and tissue donor.”

So why the discrepancy?

That is a question that confounds many experts.

The most common belief is that people simply have not gotten around to it. There’s always time, right?

Well, we can hope so. But the truth is, we don’t know. And the problem is, it’s never too late… until it’s too late.

In that regard, it only makes sense for B.C. politicians to legislate presumed consent.

In the meantime, we urge all British Columbians to “opt in,” by registering as an organ donor.

Four minutes. That’s all it takes to register online at transplantbc.ca

All you need is your BC Health number, and in 240 seconds, you might save someone’s life.

It could be the most selfless, heroic act you ever perform, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Do it now; before it’s too late. It’s too important to wait for legislation.

–Black Press

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