Monday, 6 February 2012

You can make a difference

Did you know that one organ and tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of 10 or more people?
You can make a difference; make your donation wishes known now...

You know the importance of wearing a MedicAlert emblem to let emergency staff know your medical condition(s). But did you know that MedicAlert Foundation can also advise of your wishes regarding organ and tissue donation at the most critical time?

Whether you choose to communicate your donation wishes via your bracelet, necklace or just on your membership card, MedicAlert provides an immediate and effective way to inform emergency services personnel of your decision to save and improve lives. But first, you must register your donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and, most importantly, you must discuss your donation decision with your family.

“In 2011, 1001 Australians and their families benefited from the legacy of 337 of their fellow Australians who last year became organ donors,” said Dr Jonathan Gillis, National Medical Director of the Organ and Tissue Authority. However, the Authority emphasises that many more people could have been helped if the families of willing donors knew of their loved ones’ desire to donate.

You see, in Australia the family is always asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased before donation or transplantation can proceed. While many Australians are prepared to be organ and tissue donors, the family consent rate is less than 60%.

DonateLife Week, held this year between 19–26 February, is part of the Australian Government’s national awareness campaign to increase family discussion about donation wishes. Since the reform began just over two years ago, Australia has achieved the highest ever number of donors and transplant recipients.

During DonateLife Week, all Australians will be encouraged to ask and know their loved ones’ donation wishes . Sure, it’s a difficult topic to bring up, but it’s important that you do so.

For some great suggestions on how to start a conversation about organ and tissue donation or to find out more about becoming a donor yourself, visit

This month MedicAlert Foundation is encouraging you to communicate your wishes with your family first and then with us. It’s the best way you can make a difference.