BC set a new record last year, with more heart and lung transplants taking place in the province in 2020 than ever before, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
55 people were the recipient of a lung transplant, and 33 people, including three children, were given a second chance at life with a new heart.
Liver transplants also saw a good year, matching their 2017 record of 80 liver transplants, two of which were performed in combination with a kidney transplant.
The kidney transplant program was also very successful, with 280 performed overall in 2020.
“The success of organ transplant is a transformative feat of expertise, coordination and caring through the province, in every health authority,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“A total of 451 people in BC received a life-saving transplant in 2020. Today, there are 5,491 British Columbians alive thanks to the incredible generosity of organ donors.”
110 people donated organs after death in 2020, often at the behest of their family, and 81 living donors donated a kidney.
“After years of struggling for breath, one generous donor and their family made a selfless decision on their absolute worst day, and now I have the gift of healthy lungs,” said Beth Miller, who received a lung transplant in 2020.
“I am eternally grateful to them, and to the incredibly caring transplant team.”
Through BC’s Organ Donor Registry, more than 1.5 million people have registered their organ donation decision. But the need for donors remains high, with more than 700 people waiting for a transplant.
As many as 150 people can be involved in the process from organ donation to transplant.
“The story of each successful transplant is also the story of multidisciplinary health professional teams who work in a coordinated way across the province,” says Eric Lun, BC Transplant’s executive director.
“The level of dedication and expertise on both sides of the organ donation and transplant journey is remarkable – whether providing compassionate care to organ donors and their families or caring for recipients before and after transplant.”
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald