Nova Scotia will become the first in North America to allow presumed consent lawfully for the donation of tissues and organs.
Presumed consent means every person above 19 will be considered to be an organ donor unless the person chooses not to be. The main objective of the law is to increase the number of donors in the province.
People will have to choose whether they want to be a donor or not when they get their health cards or renew them. If a person allows, still the family will approve before it is final.
Health Canada will give $1.1 million to Nova Scotia Health in order to study the impact of the new act, Human Organ, and Tissue Donation Act.
Nova Scotia’s Organ Donation Program
Dr. Stephen Beed will be the medical director of Nova Scotia’s organ and tissue donation program. He says that the results of the act will be closely observed and will be shared with other provinces.
According to him, at least four or maybe more than four provinces are seriously observing the impact of the law. He said that people are interested to know what happens here and see whether it benefits the acceptors or not.
He added that according to the new law, the efficiency of the organ donation program, tissue bank, and transplant program will improve.
“Collectively, we expect donation and transplantation will get better, and we’ll be studying which parts of our change made the most difference,” Beed explained. “Is it system change, investment in things that we know work, or is it the law, or is it both?”
The funding for the study, by Health Canada, is for three years. But Beed says that the process will take much more time. Health studies take more time and consequences will not come in three years.
He said that in the first three years, much would be learned and it would be a lot. However, he said that they will continue the study even after three years.
As the donation includes many organs such as pancreas, kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, and small bowel, one donor can save up to 8 lives.
In dead, only 1-2 percent can be donors, i.e. they are able to donate. But most of them can donate tissues such as skin, corneas, bone, heart valves, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments.
The stats show that in the province 53 people got organ transplants last year. In addition, 108 are waiting for a transplant, as of June 29.
Some people are not eligible for donations. These are the people who;
- are 18 or younger
- don’t have decision-making capacity
- have been living in Nova Scotia for less than 12 months
However, they can still donate if they want to do so. In this case, only if someone, on their behalf, allows. For example, Nova Scotians who are 16 or above, can request to be donors on the renewal process of the Health Cards.
The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act will be officially applicable after Jan 18, 2021. However, if someone wants to opt-out already, it can be done at NOVA Scotia Website. You can also call MSI at 1-800-563-8880.