I think that needs to change. In my very unscientific study, I really believe that most people are in favour of organ donation, and want to donate their organs at the end of their lives, but few sign their cards or even better, discuss their wishes with their loved ones. This will make all the difference in my opinion, and one day that decision will give someone a chance to live. Very few acts, especially ones that are this simple, can have such drastic outcomes, sign a piece of paper - one day a bunch of people live. Wow.
I also think that our governments need to treat this topic more seriously, as we all live longer and longer, I think the need for organs will increase will dramatically increase. Some countries have gone with the automatic opt-in system, meaning that unless you explicitly specify, your organs will be donated. Most countries are have not done this and like Canada depend on the very very few that donate. Here are some stats about organ transplants in Canada (2008)
- There were 4330 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant.
- 215 people died while waiting for an organ transplant.
- 2083 trasplants took place. 1541 of those transplants were made possible because of deceased donors.
- 80 people can benefit from a single donor.
- Canada consistently has one of the worst organ donor rates of industrialized countries: about 13 donors per million people, compared with 20 per million in the U.S., and more than 31 per million in Spain (and Canadians think we are better than everybody.... i am not a doctor or a statistician, but this number of 13 is too low by many factors)
So... go speak with your family and make sure they know and respect your wishes. It could save someones life.