OPS partners with Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ottawa Paramedics, Coroner’s Office to identify potential tissue donors

Posted On Thursday January 10, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 10, 2019    11:40am 

(Ottawa) – The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is pleased to announce a new initiative in partnership with Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), Ottawa Paramedic Service, and the Ottawa Coroner’s Office.

This new partnership coordinates the efforts of all three services to help save and enhance lives. It will assist in identifying potential tissue donors, who need to be referred within 12 hours to preserve the opportunity for donation.

“This is a chance to help even more people,” said Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau. “Our officers have been trained on the new protocols to ensure that vital donations get to those in critical care and save their lives.”

Police officers are often the first to arrive on scene, and they have recently been given training to help prioritize calling the coroner in the event they encounter a recently deceased person. The coroner’s office then contacts TGLN if the deceased person has the potential to donate tissue.

“A single tissue donor can impact more than 75 lives: eyes can restore sight; skin can help burn patients; bone can be used for joint replacements; heart valves can help patients with congenital heart disease; and tendons and ligaments can help people walk and run,” said Sergeant Steven Desjourdy, Ottawa Police project lead.

“The OCC/OFPS is pleased to partner with TGLN, the Ottawa Police and the Ottawa Paramedic Service to help increase the number of tissue donations in the Ottawa area,” said Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion, Regional Supervising Coroner of the Ottawa Region and Eastern Ontario Forensic Pathology Unit. “Our coroners and pathologists are committed to ensuring organ and tissue donations occur whenever possible to not only honour the wishes of donors and their families, but to save lives.”

Most Ontarians are familiar with TGLN – residents sign up to become organ donors, saving hundreds of lives every year. Ottawa ranks first among the province’s metropolitan centres (population over 500,000) with 40% of residents registered as organ donors.

This new program has the potential to reach even more people, and change their lives.

“As part of the new program, our paramedics can now contact TGLN directly when a deceased patient has the potential to become a tissue donor,” said Sue Noel, Ottawa Paramedic Service Clinical Training Superintendent. “We are proud to be part of this new initiative; this referral process has already produced a positive, direct effect on donor families and tissue recipients.”

This initiative is a first-of-its-kind partnership between TGLN and a police service in the Province.

“First responders play a crucial role in increasing the number of tissue donors in Ontario,” said Ronnie Gavsie, President and CEO, with TGLN. “Through this partnership, more Ottawans will have the opportunity to leave a legacy through the gift of donation. And through this partnership, the lives of many recipients will be dramatically enhanced. “We thank Ottawa for making this possible.”

For more information, please visit ottawapolice.ca/GiftofLife. 

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