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Transplant MD: Estonians Reluctant to Sign Up as Organ Donors

Virge Pall
Virge Pall Source: Photo: ERR

Estonians are aware of organ donations, but aren't lining up to sign donor documents, Virge Pall, the director of Tartu University Hospital's Transplant Center, has said.

“It is our nature not to want to think about it [donorship after death]. We seldom think about dying and we don't plan what will happen to us [our bodies] after death,” Pall said, speaking on ETV.

Estonian medicine already has the capacity to perform kidney, liver and lung transplants, and preparations are now being made to add pancreas and heart transplants to the list, said Pall.

There is no need to have specialists in Estonia for every type of organ transplant as the volume of operations is very low. For example, patients needing intestine transplantation are sent abroad, Pall said.

Compared with other countries in Europe, Estonia actually has a high PMP figure, the index that measures the number of deceased donors per million inhabitants, said Pall. “If we compare us with Central Europe, with countries like Germany and Austria, then their ratio is 17, 18, 19. Estonia's equivalent figure is 24.6," Pall noted.

Still, the situation could be better. Spain, Portugal and Italy are top of the list with a corresponding number of around 30.

According to the transplant center, anyone wishing to became donor should, after discussing it with relatives, print out and carry a donor card. Under Estonian law, relatives must still confirm whether the deceased had expressed a wish to donate organs after death.

Those willing can print out the card here (prindi doonorikaart), adding last and first names in capital letters (perekonnanimi ja eesnimi), their personal identification code (isikukood), current date (kuupäev ja aasta) and signiture (allkiri).

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