The drastic drop in the number of organ donations that occurred in the midst of the pandemic last spring could now lead to delays for patients who are waiting for a precious transplant.
“The patients for whom it is the most urgent are going to be transplanted anyway. [Les procédures moins urgentes] are going to be delayed a little bit, but the waiting list is not greater today than at the beginning of the year ”, indicates Dr. Prosanto Chaudhury, medical director at Transplant Quebec.
“There were fewer donations, but it picked up. I don’t think we will have an impact on mortality, ”he said reassuringly.
Despite a “historic low” in April, with only two donors listed by Transplant Quebec for the entire month, the waiting list has remained stable.
There are currently 794 Quebecers awaiting a transplant.
“We already have a mortality on the transplant waiting list which is around 50% and therefore that can have big consequences”, worries nonetheless Dr. Marie-Josée Raboisson, director of the heart transplant program at Sainte hospital. -Justine.
In 2020, only one small patient had a heart transplant at the children’s hospital, laments the cardiologist who usually counts four or five per year.
“The more we talk about it, the better. It is a discussion that must be held in families, even if for parents, it is difficult to consider organ donation when thinking about the death of their child, ”says Dr. Raboisson.
For World Organ Donation and Transplant Day which takes place on Saturday, the doctor wants to break taboos and raise awareness among families, since donations are scarce in cardiac pediatrics.
“Often, there are people who would be in favor of organ donation, but who forget to sign their card or do not tell their loved ones about it,” she notes. Organ donation works very well and it allows [receveurs] to return to a normal life. “
Save up to eight lives
On its own, a donor can save up to eight lives, in addition to improving the quality of life of about 20 others through tissue donation.
“We don’t have a lot of opportunities to save the lives of other people, and it often helps loved ones to mourn. Knowing that thanks to them, they saved lives, that they allowed several families to live normally, it’s still wonderful, ”concludes Dr. Raboisson.
Children with big hearts
CHARLIE WAITING FOR A HEART FOR TWO YEARS
Waiting for a heart for more than two years, little Charlie, 4, survives with an incomplete heart due to a malformation.
Since birth, the toddler has undergone several surgeries. By dint of receiving transfusions, Charlie developed antibodies against certain cells of potential donors. It is no longer compatible with a majority of the population.
“We can’t transplant all the hearts we eventually have. And for pediatric heart transplants, we already have very few calls, ”says Dr. Marie-Josée Raboisson.
While waiting to find the rare pearl, the little one lives with an inotropic treatment, that is to say the continuous infusion of a drug which helps the heart to contract.
“She must not tear off her catheter [ni] do things that may cause infection; it is still limited in what it can do, ”emphasizes the cardiologist.
Two years in hospital
After two years spent at Sainte-Justine Hospital, the little one was able to return to her home in Val-d’Or, Abitibi-Témiscamingue in July, much to the relief of her parents.
“For our family well-being and for its development, they worked hard to send us home,” says her mother, Enya Sérandour-Barrette, 28 years old. We try to give him the most normal life possible in the present moment. “
LIAM WAS REBORN THANKS TO A TRANSPLANT
You have to talk about organ donation to your loved ones in advance, so as not to have to make the heavy decision when an accident occurs, believes the mother of little Liam, 4, who was transplanted a few months after his birth.
“If it wasn’t for organ donation, Liam wouldn’t be here. Of course it must be extremely difficult for the donor’s family, but it is so important. It works, ”says Jessica Sarrazin, 34 years old.
When he was only a few weeks old, little Liam began to have difficulty drinking and then breathing.
“When I wanted to change his diaper, his whole body was marbled, he was blue. We could see all his veins, ”recalls the mother of the Epiphany, in Lanaudière.
At the hospital, doctors found that he was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy: his heart was too big and could not pump blood normally.
The time to find a donor, we had recourse to a “heart of Berlin”, that is to say a pump that takes over.
Liam, who then weighed only 5 kg, finally received his new heart on October 1, 2016.
“When you look at Liam, you don’t know he’s transplanted. He runs everywhere, he climbs mountains and arrives at the top without being out of breath. It’s beautiful to see, ”notes the mother, who from the bottom of her heart thanks the family of the young donor, a 2-year-old child.