65 percent of Taiwan’s 680,000 organ donors female 近六十二萬人簽器捐同意卡 女性逾六成五

Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - Page 11

The ROC Organ Procurement Association is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. According to a sample survey of more than 200,000 organ donor cards that the organization has on record, the percentage of female organ donors is significantly higher than male donors in all age groups. Among young healthy donors between the ages of 21 and 50, there are 2.2 times more females than males, and more than 65 percent of the total 618,000 organ donors on record are female, giving women the honor of being Taiwan’s bravest organ donor sex.

Association president Loong Che-chuan says that since the organization was first established in 1993, it has worked hard at promoting the concept of organ donation and educating people about it. There were initially only around 20,000 people with organ donor cards in Taiwan, but now — 20 years later — there are nearly 620,000 people with such cards. Donating organs is an altruistic act and serves to meet the needs of society, Loong says. Since 1987 more than 3,000 compassionate people have successfully donated organs in Taiwan, while there are 8,371 patients currently waiting for organs, Loong says, adding that he hopes more people will join the ranks of organ donors in the future.

Chang Chi-hsiang, who currently operates a bed and breakfast, shared her own organ donating experiences on Dec. 7, talking about how she lost her 13-year-old son 21 years ago. At the time she was expecting a miracle, but in reality her son could not be saved, so she tried to think of ways to allow her son to go on existing. After learning about organ donation, she and her husband decided to donate their son’s two kidneys.

The hospital subsequently offered Chang a funeral subsidy of NT$150,000, but she felt that the money seemed like a payment for her son’s organs, so she added NT$850,000 and bought an ambulance for NT$1 million and donated the vehicle, which was named Cheng-te after him, to the local fire department that had tried to rescue her son. Every time she hears the ambulance going out, she feels like her son is going out to rescue people, she says.

The year after her son’s organs were donated, the organ transplant recipient found Chang after seeing a news story about her. He asked her to be his godmother, and several years later Chang even attended his wedding, which for her felt like attending her own son’s wedding, she says while using a handkerchief to dry tears from her eyes.

For two years after the death of her son, she was unwilling to accept the truth, until her husband encouraged her to serve as a volunteer at the association. After seeing the joy experienced by so many donor recipients after gaining a new lease on life, she became more confident that the decision they made was the right one. Chang now has her own organ donor card and says that she wants to be just like her son when she dies, benevolently leaving her body for the benefit of humanity.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

中華民國器官捐贈協會成立迄今滿二十週年,根據協會抽樣二十多萬筆簽卡人資料,各年齡層女性簽卡比例均比男性高出許多,其中二十一至五十歲青壯族群女性比同年齡層男性高出二點二倍,而在所有六十一點八萬名的簽卡人中,逾百分之六十五為女性,使得台灣女性榮登器官捐贈「最敢捐」代表。

協會理事長龍藉泉表示,協會自一九九三年成立以來,推展「器捐」觀念與教育不遺餘力。當時簽器捐同意卡才兩萬多人,二十年後的今天已近六十二萬人簽署器捐同意卡;器捐不僅具有高度利他性,也符合社會需求,自一九八七年迄今,共有三千餘位發揮大愛的器官捐贈者,目前尚有八千三百七十一名病患仍在等待器官捐贈,期盼未來有更多民眾加入器官捐贈的行列。

目前經營民宿的張奇香十二月七日分享親身經驗表示,二十一年前,痛失年僅十三歲的愛子,當時心裡也期盼奇蹟出現,但事實上愛子是救不回來的,因此她一心只想如何做,才能讓兒子繼續「存在」。在得知可以「器捐」後,她跟先生決定捐出兒子身上可用的兩枚腎臟。

後來醫院表示可以給張奇香十五萬的喪葬補助費,但她覺得好像在賣兒子的器官,因此再拿出八十五萬元,買了一輛救護車以兒子「承德」為名,捐給當時救兒子的消防隊,之後每次救護車一出動,她就覺得好像兒子又要去救人了。

捐出愛子器官後的隔年,受贈者看到新聞報導找到她,並認了她當乾媽,數年後她還參加了乾兒子的婚禮,就像是參加自己兒子的婚禮一樣。張奇香邊說邊拿手帕擦拭眼角的淚水。

她在喪子後,有兩年時間無法接受事實,直到先生鼓勵她到器捐協會當志工,看到許多受贈者喜獲重生後,讓她更堅定當初的決定是對的,自己也簽下器捐卡,表示身故後,也要跟兒子一樣,遺愛人間。

(自由時報記者魏怡嘉)