May 24, 2024

Spain continues to lead world in organ donation

Teamwork and dedication are the secret

For the 18th year in a row, Spain leads the world in the number of
deceased organ donors per million people — 34.3. This is a commonly
used benchmark of the effectiveness of a donor system and other
countries lag far behind. The average for the European Union is 18.1
and in the US it is 26.3. In the UK, the figure is 14.7 and in
Australia 12.1 donors per million. The Spanish are particularly proud
of their record, which was achieved despite a steady decrease in the
number of traffic deaths, a major source of organs.

What is the
secret of the Spanish system? Dedication and teamwork.In 1989 the
government set up a national network of transplant coordinators. They
work in all hospitals and closely monitor emergency wards to be aware
of potential donors. When they learn of a death, they tactfully try to
persuade relatives to allow the person’s organs to be harvested. Only
about 15% of families refuse consent nowadays, a huge drop from  40%
before the system was set up. At a few hospitals the refusal rate is
nearly zero. ~ AFP, Jan 12; Organización Nacional de Trasplantes


Michael Cook
organ donation