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image of transplant symposiumFor the first time in Ontario, more than 200 participants including hospital CEOs, government officials, nurses and physicians will come together to provide input into the development of an action plan on improving organ donor rates. The symposium, hosted by the Multi Organ Transplant Program at Toronto General Hosp​ital, University Health Network and Ontario's Trillium Gift of Life Network, features experts in transplant from Ontario and U.S. 

"Transplantation is a medical success story. We know we can save lives, but the rate of organ donation has not kept up with our success. Toronto and Ontario have some of the lowest deceased donor rates anywhere in North America, but the numbers of patients waiting for a transplant continue to increase. Action is needed," said Dr. Gary Levy, Medical Director of the Multi Organ Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

"We are working together to d​evise creative ideas and develop concrete solutions on how best to raise awareness about the importance of donation and to improve our organ donor rates," said Dr. Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network. 

As an example, Dr. Markel noted that referrals from hospitals have tripled following the enactment of routine notification and request notification legislation in January 2006, leading to increases in organ and tissue donation. "I am confident that through such focused initiatives as these, we will be able to make a real difference to the more than 1800 Ontarians who have been on the waiting list far too long." 

The symposium, Organ Donation Crisi​s in Ontario: Finding Solutions, will take place on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 from 8-4:00 p.m. in the MaRS Discovery Tower, located at 101 College Street in Toronto. 

​Session highlights: 

  • Lack of Access to Transplantation: Organ Shortage – Gary Levy, MD, Toronto General Hospital 
  • Donation After Cardiocirculatory Death: Back to the Future - Gregory Knoll, MD, The Ottawa Hospital 
  • Anonymous Organ Donation: Is It Ethical? - Linda Wright, Bioethics, University Health Network 
  • Debate: Presumed Consent – Is Ontario Ready? - David Russell, MD, St. Joseph's Healthcare vs Gary Levy, MD
  • How to Achieve a Successful Donor Rate (focusing on the Philadelphia example, as one of the largest and most the successful organ procurement organizations in the U.S. ) – Howard Nathan, Gift of Life Donor Program 
  • The U.S. Success Story – James Burdick, MD, Johns Hopkins Medical Centre 
  • Trillium Gift of Life Network, Business Plan – Frank Markel, PhD, Trillium Gift of Life Network 

The symposium's complete schedule is available at www.uhn.on.ca​ under "What's News." ​

Toronto General Hospital is a partner in the University Health Network, along with the Toronto Western Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital. These teaching hospitals are affiliated with the University of Toronto. The scope of research at Toronto General Hospital has made this institution a national and international source for cardiovascular discovery, education and patient care, as well as for its innovations in transplantation, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, diabetes and genomic medicine. The Multi Organ Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital is Canada's first and largest program. 

Trillium Gift of Life is not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that lives can be saved. 

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Media Contact: 416 340 4636​

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