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Finland faces chronic transplant organ shortage

Every year, five to ten percent of people in line for an organ transplant die waiting.

Lähikuva elektronisesta elinluovutuskortista mobiililaitteen ruudulla.
Want to donate your organs? There's an app for that. Image: Ilkka Klemola / Yle

Finland faces a chronic shortage of transplant organs although almost every resident is a potential donor.

At the end of September, 567 residents were waiting for a transplant, most often a kidney. Renal transplantation is becoming increasingly common in Finland as the population ages.

“Medical technology today makes it possible for people in relatively poor physical condition to survive organ transplantations, lengthening the queue,” said Petri Inomaa from Finland’s National Kidney and Liver Association.

A poll by the National Kidney and Liver Association found that 85 percent of residents would donate their organs, but most people don’t share these wishes with their family.

A few years ago, Finland passed a law that expanded the pool of people who could donate organs to those who had never indicated they were against the idea during their lifetime. Medical personnel will, however, ask a potential donor’s next of kin about the deceased’s views on organ donation if there is no organ donor card.

People open to donation can ensure their wishes are carried out by keeping an organ donation card in their wallet, downloading an organ donation app or marking their views on organ donation in the patient records database omakanta.

12 October is European Organ Donation Day.

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