The numbers on organ donation

Andy Tookey has passed on an OIA response from NZ. It is an interesting over-view of ICU deaths and organ donations in NZ.

The data reveals:

  • 1,123 deaths in ICUs
  • 367 deaths where organ donation was possible (on a ventilator with sever brain damage)
  • 135 deaths where organ donation was formally discussed
  • 53 families agreed to donate

So there are two ways to increase the donation rate (well apart from increasing the number of deaths in ICU). They are:

  1. Increase the proportion of deaths where organ donation is formally discussed
  2. Increase the proportion of cases where it is agreed to after discussion

Only 37% of ICU deaths (135/367) had a formal discussion. I’m curious as to why that isn’t 90% or more.

Of those where there was a discussion, 61% of families said no. That is a high refusal rate (UK is aiming for 16% refusal rate) and to my mind reinforces why the decision should be the deceased’s, not the families.

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