Web organ donor a first in Canada

Toronto (Feb. 26, 2006) - The above article brought attention to a new way for those who need organs and potential donors to meet.

And we are grateful for that. The article refers to the kidney donor as "Canada's first 'altruistic' organ donor" and describes the story of two people who met through an Internet site and who went on to give an organ and receive a transplant at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network. To our knowledge, this is the first time a hospital in Canada has performed a transplant between people who met in this specific way.

However, it is incorrect to describe this as the first altruistic donation in Canada. Living donors have given organs to others for decades and in doing so they have all been altruistic. It would be very unfortunate to suggest that previous living donors were not demonstrating altruism when clearly they were giving a precious, life-extending gift to another human being despite the risks, discomfort and often considerable financial costs to themselves.

Altruism is a driving motivation for organ donors. Society owes them a big thank you for their selfless gift to those in desperate need of organs. They deserve this recognition and more.

Linda Wright, Bioethicist, University Health Network and Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

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Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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