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Northern BC sees record of 21 organ transplants in 2016: PHSA

British Columbia set a new record number of organ donors as well as the number of transplants in 2016.

According to BC Transplant and the Provincial Health Services Authority, 423 people received life-saving treatments, including 21 issued by Northern Health; an increase of 25% from 20-15.

Dr. Sean Keenan is the Provincial Medical Director of BC Transplant Donation Services.

He says he’s shocked to see the generosity from the province.

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“In 2015, there had been quite a large increase due to a lot of background work, and it was not clear whether we’d be able to sustain that, but we have an we’ve exceeded it.”

The biggest donation came from deceased donors, allowing 173 kidney transplants to take place.

Dr. Keenan says this is largely because they can provide alternative support to the native organ.

“People live a lot longer with kidney failure than people who have liver failure or heart failure. It is perhaps more common, but also it’s our ability to support people with dialysis that contributes to the greater need in this area.”

There were also a record number of seven deceased donors in the Northern region; only one came from this category in 2014 and 2015.

Dr. Keenan credits local hospitals for creating more awareness.

“There’s potential for improvement, or at least higher rates, but I’m very very pleased with how well it’s been embraced by the community.”

He adds living kidney donations were down 16% from the previous year, which means 80% of British Columbians are still waiting for this specific donation.

More than 600 people remain on the waiting list across the province, hoping more people will become organ donors in 2017.

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