Despite the country floundering in its perennial healthcare crisis, positive news this week is that Portugal’s record for liver and lung transplants has “never been so good”.
According to the IPST (Portuguese institute of blood and transplants) a total of 841 organs were transplanted “just between January and December 20” last year, and the number of donors (both live and dead) was also in ascendence.
“Our society is very supportive”, national transplantation coordinator Ana França told Jornal de Notícias. “Even when loved ones die, people feel there is something that can be done to continue life in other people.
“There is almost no opposition to organ donation”, she added, stressing that when people die, medical staff go to every length possible to preserve organs with a view to helping other people.
On a global scale, Portugal’s donors rank 4th for their willingness to help save lives. Kidney transplants are the most common (last year, the country saw 485 operations) while there were 26 lung transplants.
José Fragata, the head of Lisbon’s Santa Marta cardiothoracic hospital, told JN that this year he hopes this record can be boosted even further, to 30 or even 35.
“We receive patients from all over the country”, he said – with waiting lists for organs usually numbering “around 50 people”.