Sign on, talk to your family and save a life
The Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, today called on Australians to mark Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week by talking to their families about their views on organ donation and then register with the Australian Organ Donor Register.
18 February 2002
Sign on, talk to your family and save a lifeThe Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, today called on Australians to mark Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week by talking to their families about their views on organ donation and then register with the Australian Organ Donor Register.
Senator Patterson today launched Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week, which runs from today until February 24, in Parliament House, Canberra.
The launch heard from organ recipients and a representative of a donor family.
Senator Patterson said it was crucial for people who were going to register to talk to close family members about their desire to donate an organ to ensure their wishes were fulfilled.
She said that grieving families, understandably distressed at a time of the passing of their loved ones, could override the wishes of the deceased and not permit the donation of organs.
Senator Patterson said: "When a family is aware of their loved one's intentions, they very rarely go against them. Indeed, in most cases the decision to donate organs and tissues helps a family make sense of death. It is a powerful affirmation of the preciousness of life."
She said that by registering to become an organ donor people were potentially making the greatest gift one human could give another - the gift of life and hope.
Senator Patterson: "If you register as a donor, the chances are that you are 20 times more likely to need an organ yourself than you are to donate one."
One million Australians have registered with the Australian Organ Donor Register since it was launched in November, 2000. That figure is expected to rise over the next few months when existing data from State transport authorities is transferred to the national register.
Senator Patterson said there were not enough potential donors because very few deaths - less than one per cent in fact - occurred in a way that made organ donation medically possible.
About 1970 people are on donor waiting lists. Many will die before an organ becomes available.
Media contact: Randal Markey, Senator Patterson's office, 6277 7220 or 0417 694 520; Marion Frith, Health Insurance Commission, 6124 7933 or 0417 498 318