St. Paul’s Hospital contributes to another extraordinary year for transplants

Organ donor Aaron Hansen gave the gift of life to five recipients last year. (Photo by Nicholas Thielmann)

BC Transplant announced today that 465 organ transplants were performed in 2022 and 5,863 post-transplant patients are now being followed and cared for thanks to health professionals who dedicate their careers to supporting organ donation and transplantation.

Providence Health Care is a major provider of kidney and heart transplant services for British Columbians. Providence’s St. Paul’s Hospital is home to BC’s only heart transplant program. It is also one of two adult kidney transplant centres in BC.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made the selfless decision to give the gift of life. We also recognize the hundreds of health professionals who coordinated across the province to support organ donation and transplant, especially during the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a news release.

BC Transplant also reported that a record-breaking 159 deceased organ donors gave the gift of life in BC in 2022. BC’s donors per million (DPM) rate for deceased donation has also increased to 29.7, which compares to 28.5 in 2021. 

Normalizing family conversations around organ donation are becoming more common, as a part of quality end-of-life care.

BC Transplant’s 2022 fact sheet.

Aaron’s story

Organ donor Aaron Hansen was only 29 when he tragically passed and gave the gift of life to five grateful recipients last year. As the middle child of five siblings, his mother Laura Hansen shares, “I encouraged all of my children to register as organ donors as soon as they received their learner’s licence at 16 years of age. When our family gathered in ICU, we all looked at each other and knew we would honour Aaron’s wishes – this is what he would have wanted.”

Aaron’s father Steve Hansen adds, “Aaron’s organ donation is not only a gift to other families, but also a beautiful gift to our family because his death was not hopeless. Perhaps one day we’ll even get to meet some of the recipients.”

Aaron’s organ donation story is just one of many that profoundly impacted the lives of people in B.C.’s communities. 2022 also saw a new record for 101 liver transplants in addition to 288 kidney transplants, 54 lung transplants and 25 heart transplants (numbers include multi-organ transplants).  

Read Aaron’s full story

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BC Transplant is committed to investing in foundational elements to support and increase donation, including education of health-care professionals and donation physicians and implementing in-hospital transplant coordinators. With this infrastructure in place, hospital referrals of potential deceased donors also reached a record 875 times in 2022, which is up 13 per cent from the previous year.

“We know that this all would not have been possible without the generosity of 159 donors and their families who chose to say yes to organ donation in a difficult time,” says Dr. Sean Keenan, BC Transplant’s provincial medical director for donation services. “Because of their honorable decision, 465 grateful transplant recipients and their loved ones get the opportunity to live fuller lives.”

Meanwhile, 527 people and their families are still waiting for that life-changing call, as of Dec. 31, 2022.

It takes two minutes to register as an organ donor, and British Columbians are encouraged to take action at and then share their decision with loved ones. 

This story was adapted from a BC Transplant news release.

Related story: Grateful volunteer visits St. Paul’s Hospital exactly 20 years after transplant