Team works with the highest number of deceased donors ever in 2018

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – More Manitoba families than ever before have honoured the final wishes of a loved one and have chosen to donate life-saving organs to those in need in 2018. A record 22 Manitobans became deceased donors and offered others a second chance at life.

“Transplant Manitoba’s Gift of Life team is working very diligently to build a culture of donation within health care so the system is able to respond and provide families with the care and support they need when faced with difficult decisions,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen. “Their hard work in communicating with families and offering the opportunity for donation when the time is right, not only supports families, but offers hope to those needing life-saving transplants now and into the future.”

“Thanks to the efforts and hard work of the donation team in partnership with healthcare providers, we are there for families during their toughest hours,” said Dr. Adrian Robertson, medical director, Gift of Life. “When there is no hope of recovery, many of the families we work with find some hope in the opportunity to consider donating organs to help others who are struggling.”

To ensure families have compassionate end-of-life care and the option to consider organ donation when the time is right, a mandatory referral policy was introduced in 2014. Since then, the percentage of all potential donors referred to the Gift of Life program has consistently improved – 35.1% in 2014, 52% in 2015, 74.3% in 2016, 83% in 2017 and 94% in 2018.

“The WRHA could not be happier with the continued growth of the Gift of Life program and the kindness of Manitobans,” said Lori Lamont, Chief Operating Officer for the WRHA. “Providing a second chance for a person in need of an organ transplant is a selfless act. We are proud of the work being done by Transplant Manitoba and buoyed by the response and generosity.” 

In total, 58 Manitobans received a kidney transplant through Manitoba’s Kidney Transplant Program at HSC Winnipeg in 2018. Twenty-six of those gifts came from living kidney donors and another seven from four donors through DCD.

“Transplantation is regarded as the best treatment for kidney disease and in general, people with a kidney transplant live longer, healthier lives,” said Dr. Peter Nickerson, medical director, Transplant Manitoba. “Less than three per cent of deaths in hospital offer the opportunity for donation, so we encourage families to talk about what their wishes and to register those decisions online.”

Manitoba’s online organ and tissue donor registry,, experienced a record year in terms of registrations.

More than 11,400 Manitobans registered their intent to be organ and tissue donors in 2018. The second largest wave of registration was in 2012, the year the registry launched, when 7,875 Manitobans signed online.

Registration is simple and requires three pieces of information – name, birth date and nine-digit Manitoba Health card.