Alberta to boost organ donations with new program

A new program in Alberta will try to boost organ donations, as wait lists for life-saving surgeries grow.

The $2-million program, called the Specialist in End-of-Life Care, Neuroprognostication and Donation (SEND), will put almost two dozen specialists to the task of coordinating donations and transplant opportunities in the province.

Organ donations have increased about 28 per cent in Alberta since 2011, but some doctors say there is a lot more that can be done.


Dr. Andreas Kramer with Alberta Health Services says the new SEND program aims to ensure nobody slips through the cracks.

“If there are medical professionals that miss donation opportunities, we want them to know about that. Not in any kind of a punitive way, but rather for the sake of trying to avoid those missed opportunities in the future.”

Kramer also says SEND means there will be dedicated specialists in every major city in Alberta so they can all work together to find organs and have difficult conversations about donor consent.

“We’re actually going to be the Canadian leaders in doing this,” Kramer said. “The medical record reviews will actually be performed by experts, rather than people maybe with a little bit less understanding of what happens in the moment by moment care of a critically ill patient.”

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