A record 529 lives were saved in Victoria last year – more than in any other state – thanks to the generosity of 193 organ donors and their families.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital led the country, with 59 donors saving the lives of more than 160 recipients; a huge increase on the year prior, and a new national record with more than ten per cent of Australia’s donors.
The recently released 2018 Organ Donation and Transplantation Outcomes Activity Report shows the number of lives saved through organ donation has reached an all-time high. A total of 1,544 Australians received a life-saving transplant last year, thanks to 554 deceased organ donors and their families who agreed to donation.
The 30% increase in donors in Victoria resulted in a 37% increase in transplant recipients. DonateLife Victoria State Medical Director Dr Rohit D’Costa paid tribute to all organ donors and their families.
“The lives of hundreds of Victorians are being saved with organ transplants, but that is only ever possible when grieving families – on what is often the worst day of their own lives – think of others,” Dr D’Costa said.
Organ donation numbers at RMH have continued to steadily increase in recent years, from nine donors in 2014, to 20 in 2015, 23 in 2016 and 37 in 2017.
The staggering increase is due to positive cultural changes, resulting in the potential for organ donation being more easily identified.
Elle was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure and was receiving dialysis while waiting on the transplant list. Last September she received a phone call that would change her life - a kidney had become available thanks to the generosity of an organ donor.
"The donor has given me the gift of life. There's no words to describe how grateful I am," said Elle, who is pictured with her nurses Melissa and Steffi.
The rate of consent – whether families agree to donation – has also increased significantly in Victoria, up from 53 per cent in 2013 to 68 per cent in 2018.
Having a trained specialist in the family donation conversation makes an impact, with figures showing that 75% of families agree to donation when supported by a trained specialist. This drops to just 45% when no trained donation specialist is involved.
“We want to thank every single family who has made the decision to donate, and hope they get some comfort out of the knowledge their loved one has saved other people’s lives,” said Dr D’Costa.
Register as an organ donor today at donatelife.gov.au. It takes less than a minute, and all you need is your medicare card.