14% of organ donors in Quebec in 2022 were people who chose medical assistance in dying

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Researchers say that 64 people in Quebec donated their organs after receiving medical assistance in dying (MAID) between 2018 and the end of 2022.

They found that donations from this group accounted for 14 percent of all organs donated in the final year of the study.

Researchers analyzed data from all MAID recipients referred to Transplant Québec for possible organ donation over the five years and found that the number of donors increased from eight in 2018 to 24 in 2022.

Lead author Dr. Matthew Weiss, medical director of Transplant Quebec, says many of the 245 people recommended for donation withdrew from the process due to concerns about aspects of it, but there are no detailed information on their reasons.

He says some may have decided not to donate after learning they would have to receive their aid-in-dying drugs in the hospital rather than at home, so their organs could be harvested quickly after a cardiac arrest.

Dr. Pierre Marcelet, an expert in organ transplantation, says that people who receive MAID and want to donate take it to heart.

“In general, it is so important to them that they are even willing to modify their end-of-life process to be able to donate their organs,” he told Radio-Canada.

Weiss says it’s unclear how many MAID providers have offered their patients the opportunity to donate their organs, and he would like to see reporting standardized across Canada to understand the results.

THE study involving donated livers, kidneys and lungs was published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The only other countries where organ donation after medical assistance in dying is legal are Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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