Mourning families increasingly blocking organ donations of loved ones

Colin Arnott gladly reaffirmed the organ donation consent of his brother Ken, who died following a massive stroke in 2013. In his hands is a photo of the brothers in one of their last races together. (Steve Russell / Toronto Star)
THE TORONTO STAR | Michael Robinson

Grieving families are blocking the organ donations of one in five Ontarians who registered to donate before they died, the Star has learned.

Data obtained by the Star from the Trillium Gift of Life Network reveals how often opportunities for potentially life-saving transplants are lost because of family objections — a number that has steadily risen over the past three years.

Whitby’s Colin Arnott said he was “surprised” when asked by Trillium representatives to “reaffirm” the consent of his brother, a registered donor who died following a stroke in 2013.

“They told us Ken had signed his donor card — I didn’t know he had — and asked us if it was true those were his wishes,” he said. “I was surprised why they were asking us to affirm his decision if he already filled out the forms and signed his donor card.”

Like the majority of families, Arnott gave the go-ahead for his relative’s donation to move forward. Yet provincial data shows the number of cases where families step in to quash a loved one’s donation is rising. Continue reading
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