Donor groups praise tot's sacrifice 0
Calgary toddler Mackenzy Woolfsmith, who died at a city day home on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Police homicide detectives are now investigating while the family is asking for privacy. PHOTO COURTESY FAMILY
Advocacy groups are praising the heart wrenching decision by a Calgary family to donate the organs of a 21-month-old girl killed at a day home, which resulted in four young lives being saved.
“I definitely applaud the family’s decision to do that and to share the decision with the public,” said Diane Panton Kashuba, communications manager for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, southern Alberta branch.
“I certainly think it’s phenomenal they’ve been able to extend Mackenzy’s life in this way and that as far as raising awareness to others who might have to make this decision — it certainly re-affirms it in their minds.”
Mackenzy Woolfsmith, just 21-months-old, died Friday after being removed from life support, two days after she was critically injured at a day home in the 100 block of Elgin Heath S.E.
Homicide investigators and members of the child abuse unit are probing the child’s death and an autopsy was performed Monday, however the cause of death remains undetermined.
Police said they are now waiting for test results from the autopsy, which can take months to return.
Mackenzy’s parents, Dan and Jen, released a statement through police Sunday, saying in part that donating her organs meant “four babies now have chances at amazing lives.”
Along with making the decision whether to donate organs and tissue, it’s important to share your thoughts with family members, said Dr. Andreas Kramer, medical director of the Southern Alberta Organ and Tissue Program, as there is no registry in Alberta.
“In Canada our approach is that we depend on surrogate decision makers to help us understand the views of the deceased individuals,” he said.
That can be a tough conversation to have, but it’s a necessary one, Kramer added.
“Some people consider (death) as somewhat of a morbid thing to think about,” he said.
“And Alberta has become quite a multicultural place, too, and maybe this isn’t something people are used to thinking about and talking about.”
Organs can be donated if a patient suffers brain death but their body is still healthy, which Kramer said only happens in about 1% or 2% of deaths in hospital.
Last year in Calgary, 19 organ donations were performed, along with 169 tissue donations.
Kidney and pancreas transplants are done in Calgary, and all others are performed in Edmonton, said Kramer.
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