Nova Scotia had more organ donors this year than ever before.
The medical director of Legacy of Life, the province's organ donation program, Dr. Stephen Beed says 32 people have been organ donors so far in 2020.
He says over the last decade, the number has hovered around 20.
"As far as I know, this is the highest donation rate of any province at any time in Canada," he says. "This has been strangely, wonderfully successful."
Dr. Beed says this year's numbers exceed the target the program had set to reach five years from now.
"We anticipated that if we were fortunate we could perhaps get to mid-to-high twenties over a five-year period," he says. "And we've achieved that during a pandemic year which is all the more remarkable."
On January 18, the Nova Scotia Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act will come into effect which means all eligible Nova Scotians will be considered donors after death. People who don't wish to donate, can opt-out of the program before or after the law is enacted.
Dr. Beed credits this year's success to more discussion around organ donation, as well as what he calls a 'reboot to the system,' in preparation for changing over to presumed consent.
"It is that reboot with more people and more focus on education, and infrastructure for quality, and information technology, and all of those things are part of making our system better that I think has translated into increased donor numbers," he says.
According to Dr. Beed, between three and four organs on average are used from each donor.