Centralised organ donation register reaches 100,000 mark
27 June 2012
The Department of Health (DH) today (June 27) announced that the number of registered donors on the Centralised Organ Donation Register (CODR) has exceeded 100,000. The achievement owes much to the community, which increasingly accepts and supports organ donation.
The CODR was established by the DH in November 2008 to make it easier for prospective donors to voluntarily register their wish to donate organs after death, and for such a wish to be more reliably recorded. The CODR enables the Hospital Authority's transplant coordinators to respond quickly and accurately upon the death of a CODR-registered patient, and also assists the bereaved family in acknowledging the deceased's wish to rekindle the lives of other people. Since the establishment of the CODR, the registration number continues to rise.
The DH keeps track of the registration numbers of the CODR for occasional analysis and has found that they are closely related to certain events, after which significant increases in registrations were observed.
Such events include the prominent media coverage of the incident in which Customs Inspector Hui Sai-man donated part of his liver to save the life of his colleague in November 2010; a TV drama series with an episode featuring organ donation in March 2012; and extensive media coverage following the death of Ms Carmen Ho in a traffic accident, who saved the lives of six people by donating her organs in April 2012. Following each of these the CODR saw dramatic increases in the number of registrations.
In addition, the DH assisted non-governmental organisations and student groups in organising street promotional activities for organ donation, each of which contributed hundreds of new registrations to the CODR. The above events reflect that Hong Kong people have a benevolent heart. The CODR provided them with a convenient and reliable platform to make registrations, instantly recording their wish to help others.
According to a survey conducted by DH in September 2010, major reasons for people to register their wish to donate organs were: (i) "I want to help others/it as an act that should be done"; (ii) "emotionally touched by stories of successful organ donation reported in the media"; and (iii) "clicking into and making registration through the CODR website while web surfing".
However, many people refuse to donate organs after death because they are worried that removal of an organ will affect the appearance and look of their body at the funeral, or because they believe that once they have signed the organ donation card they will not be taken care of by healthcare workers if they have an accident.
These ideas are in fact entirely fallacious - organ donation will not disfigure the deceased's body or change the way it looks as the surgical wound will be properly administered and will usually be covered by clothing. Moreover, saving lives is the responsibility and foremost priority of all medical personnel. Only after a patient is certified dead will the suitability of organ donation be considered to bring new life to patients with organ failure.
It is easy to register as an organ donor. Members of the public can simply register online (This link will open in a new windowwww.organdonation.gov.hk). Registration forms are also available from public and private hospitals, Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Donation Centres, Health Centres of DH, the Hong Kong Medical Association, tertiary academic institutions, various non-government organisations and some private companies. Completed forms can be submitted to the DH (21/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai) by post free of charge or by fax (2127 4926).
The DH suggests that holders of organ donation cards should register with the CODR. As willing donors need to carry the organ donation card with them at all times, they may ultimately not be able to fulfill their last wish of donating organs if their cards are lost or cannot be found.
To learn more or offer your help, please visit the DH organ donation thematic website (This link will open in a new windowwww.organdonation.gov.hk) and the Facebook fan page "Organ Donation@HK" (This link will open in a new windowwww.organdonation.gov.hk/fanpage_eng).