KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said he was happy that mechanical heart girl Tee Hui Yi, 14, had finally received a heart donor. He said he was thankful to the donor’s family who had set a very good example in the country.
“The family members have asked the donor’s name be kept confidential. We respect their wish.
“The donor family’s act is exemplary. They have noble intentions when they agreed to donate the organs. I hope Malaysians realise if there are no donors, many patients awaiting organs will die,” he said.
Dr Chua said it was disheartening that despite many fatal accidents occurring in the country every year, the number of organs saved for donation was negligible due to disagreement from victims’ families.
The nation needs about 1,200 kidneys, 450 hearts, 450 corneas and 200 livers a year to save patients’ lives, he said.
Thanking the media for the extensive publicity given to Tee’s plight, the minister said the publicity blitz had indirectly created awareness among the people on the importance of organ donation.
Dr Chua said his ministry would intensive promotions to boost public awareness on organ donation, particularly in convincing family members or the donor’s next-of-kin, many of whom are opposed to organ donation.
He said every single procedure in signing up as an organ donor or as a recipient would be done professionally and according to ethics.
“One of the problems faced by the ministry is that though many pledge to donate their organs, when they die, their family members object.
“Up to June, 108,000 people have pledged to donate their organs.
Nevertheless, only 25 people donated due to family objections at the last minute,” he said.
Their reservations are largely due to religious and cultural reasons though no religion in this country forbids organ donation, he said.
Of the 108,000 organ donors, 62 per cent are Chinese, Indians (23 per cent), Malays (12 per cent) and other races (three per cent), he said.
Fifty-four per cent of them are women, he added.
This article was originally published in NST Online.
Click here to return to previous section