POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Organ donor shortage in Luxembourg



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Anyone in need of an organ donor in Luxembourg is in for a long wait as the grand duchy has among the lowest donor rates of any Eurotransplant member.

According to figures published by the Luxembourg health ministry on 16 October, there were seven organ donors so far in 2018, and during 2017, there were nine.

So far this year, 26 transplants were performed, including one lung transplant, four live transplants, two heart transplants and 19 kidney transplants. Currently, around 67 patients are waiting for transplants, the ministry reported.

“The number of donated organs remains largely insufficient to cover the need for transplants and the shortage of organs is still a major obstacle to transplant activities,” health minister Lydia Mutsch said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Luxembourg operates under a presumed donor system whereby patients have to opt out if they do not want their organs to be donated after they die. However, in practice, professionals prefer to obtain the consent of the deceased’s family. When a patient has not discussed their wishes with family, the decision places a heavy burden on the next-of-kin and oftentimes families refuse.

To avoid these situations, the health ministry has launched an information campaign to encourage people to discuss their wishes and to obtain a “passeport de vie” or donor card.

The leaflet and card can be ordered free of charge by calling 247-85569, or downloaded from the health website www.sante.lu, and www.dondorganes.lu. The health ministry also has an application available on iPhone and Android, called the “passeport de vie”.