Three out of four Quebecers believe that the family should not have the last word

MONTREAL, April 24, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – More than 70% of Quebecers do not believe that the family should have the last word when it comes to donating their deceased loved one’s organs and nearly 80% believe that the family should not go to against their loved one’s last wishes, according to new findings released just days before the start of National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, which runs from April 24 to 30. These results follow a survey conducted by Transplant Québec, which asked Quebecers if a loved one or family member should be able to go against the wishes of a deceased person who had registered for one of the two organ donor registers or had signed their health insurance card. In reality, organ donation is much more complex.

While acknowledging the intention expressed beforehand by the donor, the medical teams talk in practice with the relatives of the donor about their consent to organ donation before the process is initiated. The family, already grappling with the sudden loss of a loved one, is plunged into a tragic and painful situation that they are ill-prepared and ill-equipped to manage. “It is important that we respect the wishes of individuals who want to donate their organs. That said, we cannot remain insensitive to the pain of their loved ones, who are overwhelmed with emotion at the unexpected death of their loved ones and are urged to assimilate all of this information at relatively short notice. They are also being asked to take a stand on a topic that may have never been discussed by the deceased or even discussed at family gatherings,” said Louis Beaulieugeneral manager of Transplant Quebec.

“Faced with suffering, and faced with the unpredictable and different reservations and reactions of relatives, it becomes difficult for clinicians involved in organ donation not to take into account the refusal of relatives to recognize the wishes of the deceased, even when ‘they are clearly expressed,’ said Dr. Matthew Weiss, medical director of organ donation at Transplant Québec. This situation is not unique to Quebec. Even organ donation professionals working in jurisdictions where presumed consent takes precedence, such as Spain or France, will not oppose the refusal of a bereaved family to consent to organ donation. Consequently, the refusal of families to authorize organ donation is the main cause of the loss of potential organ donors throughout the world.

Transplant Québec recognizes that there is a gap between public opinion and the law, that a family in crisis also needs care and that a person’s expressed wish to donate their organs must be respected. Like Louis Beaulieu stated: “Transplant Québec believes that a public consultation would allow a diversity of Quebec voices to determine together what an officially expressed ‘yes’ really means at these critical times when organ donation is possible.

One in two people mentioned their intention to become an organ donor

While the vast majority of Quebecers (92%) say they are in favor of organ donation, the refusal rate from families remains high. When families are unaware of the wishes of the deceased, some tend to refuse the donation. Transplant Québec invites all Quebecers to speak to their loved ones about their intention to become an organ donor as soon as possible. For more information and to register your consent with one of the registers:

About Transplant Quebec

Transplant Québec has received from the Minister of Health and Social Services the mandate to save lives and improve the health of people requiring a transplant by coordinating the organ donation process, ensuring an equitable distribution of organs, supporting the best clinical practices through the consultation and mobilization of its partners and the promotion of organ donation in society in general. Transplant Québec is therefore working to ensure that as many Quebecers as possible who are waiting for an organ can benefit from a transplant as soon as possible.

SOURCE Transplant Quebec


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