Shortage Of Organ Donors In Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Shortage Of Organ Donors In Iceland

Published January 31, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photo by
landspitali.is

Due to a severe lack of registered organ donors in Iceland patients can expect to wait years on transplant lists, reports Vísir.

On average, nine people in Iceland accept organs from donors each year but only three organ donors die on average each year in Iceland.

This is because Iceland operates on presumed denial of donorship and relatives are expected to decide whether or not organs are to be donated upon death.

Parliamentary members from all political parties have put forward a bill on presumed consent, meaning that in the future Icelanders might have to opt out of being organ donors. Currently there is no set time for discussing this bill in parliament.

The need for organ donors has increased in recent years because patients who may previously have been considered unfit for donation are increasingly considered suitable due to technical advancements in medicine.

“Also, as organs only last a certain amount of time, individuals who have previously received donated organs are coming back on transplant lists.” said Runólfur Pálsson, Chief of Nephrology at Landspítali, the National University Hospital of Iceland.

The waiting list for a new kidney can be as long as three years but on a positive note, Icelanders excel at being “living donors”. This means that the need for kidneys from organ donors is not as pressing as it otherwise would be.

Pálsson urges everyone to become a donor, “This is the greatest gift that anyone could possibly give and it is important people discuss this with their loved ones so they know their position on the matter in the event of an untimely death.”

Icelanders looking to register themselves as organ donors can check out this brochure (in Icelandic) for further information.
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