Two volunteers wearing green shirts in honour of Logan Boulet. The 21-year-old hockey player died during the Humboldt Broncos bus crash almost exactly a year ago. Before his death, Boulet had registered as an organ donor. More than 100,000 Canadians have since followed his example. (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Provincial transplant agency lead asks British Columbians to follow example of Broncos’ player

Leanne Appleton defends B.C.’s opt-in system for organ donations

The executive director of the provincial agency in charge of transplants said her office will assess Nova Scotia’s move to make all adults in the province potential organ donors unless they opt out, but British Columbia has no immediate plans to change the system.

“We have a robust system,” said Leanne Appleton, provincial executive director at BC Transplant and Specialized Chronic Diseases at Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).

She made this comment Monday morning, as she joined local MLA and minister of agriculture Lana Popham and Jinny Sim, minister of citizens’ services, at the Service BC Centre in the 700 block of Vernon Road for Greenshirt Day, a campaign designed to increase organ donations.

RELATED: Organ donation saved record 502 lives last year in B.C.

The event drew attention to the Logan Boulet Effect. Its namesake 21-year-old Logan Boulet was among the 16 hockey players, coaches, and other staff, who died when a semi-trailer driven by Jaskirat Singh Sidhu collided with the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Boulet, a player for the junior team, died on April 7, 2018, one day after the actual collision. Boulet had earlier registered himself as an organ donor in following his coach and mentor Ric Suggitt. Boulet’s decision saved six lives. According to BC Transplant, more than 100,000 Canadians registered to become organ donors in the weeks after the crash.

Appleton referenced Boulet and encouraged others to follow his examples by registering themselves as organ donors.

“The Logan Boulet Effect is real and truly spurring British Columbians and Canadians on to take action,” she said. “I know it has bolstered the effort of each and every one of you here on the frontlines of Service BC. Each conversation you have can ultimately save lives.”

About 27 per cent of British Columbians (1.35 million) have registered themselves as organ donors and donations saved 502 lives last year.

Appleton said later she would like to see provincial numbers rise as high as possible, calling 50 per cent a realistic goal.

RELATED: VIDEO: Green Shirt Day to honour Humboldt Broncos organ donor

British Columbia uses an opt-in system rather than an opt-out system, which the literature also describes as a presumed consent model. It considers every person a potential organ donor unless said person has explicitly opted out of being a donor.

Several European countries have adopted some version of this model and Nova Scotia just last week became the first North American jurisdiction to introduce presumed consent with the proviso that the legislation won’t come into effect for several months, even years.

Nova Scotia has earned praise for this move with supporters noting that many countries with high donation rates use presumed consent, but also criticism from civil libertarians, who see it as a violation of personal choice.

Appleton said several years may pass until officials elsewhere will have a better understanding of the legislation’s effects (assuming it passes and withstands legal challenges).

British Columbia, she said, will focus on raising registration rates and in-hospital support.

“Research suggests that other strategies such as in-hospital donation coordinators, education and training for medical professionals, and public education are more effective at increasing donor rates than presumed consent legislation,” the agency noted in a brief commenting on presumed-consent legislation. “BC Transplant has implemented these strategies and is seeing great success.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Retiring Vancouver Island University president reflects on more of a decade of leadership

Ralph Nilson has been president of VIU since the change from Malaspina University College in 2007.

Are you ready for a safe adventure

Ambassadors breaching outdoor safety around Vancouver Island

Oak Bay student takes aim at national contest with project on Jimmy Chicken

Heritage project tells story of First Nations man who lived on Mary Tod Island

Reduce the risk of financial abuse for seniors

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15

Editorial: Attention to small actions can prevent forest fires

The summer is heating up, and many people have been excited about… Continue reading

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read