Physicians urge New Brunswick to adopt presumed consent for organ and tissue donation

The New Brunswick Medical Society strongly encourages the provincial government to adopt amendments to the Human Tissue Gift Act that would make every individual 19 years and up organ and tissue donors unless they choose to opt out. Following Nova Scotia in adopting a “presumed consent” model would save lives. There were more than 3,000 organ transplant procedures performed in Canada in 2020, yet the number of transplants needed vastly outweighs the donations received. More than 4,000 Canadians were waiting for transplants at the end of 2020; unfortunately, about 280 Canadians die each year waiting for a transplant. According to the World Health Organization, countries with presumed consent legislation have donation rates 25 to 30 per cent higher than those that require explicit consent. Enacting this legislation combined with patient education could convert up to 419,000 New Brunswickers into organ donors. With a single donor able to save or improve the lives of up to 80 people, physicians believe enacting this legislation will save lives.  

Dr. Mark MacMillan 

President, New Brunswick Medical Society