A photo and flowers are seen during a funeral service for Humboldt Broncos’ Logan Boulet in Lethbridge, Alta. on Saturday, April 14, 2018. The Alberta hometown for a victim of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash will name an arena after him, and will also make an exception to a decades-old rule that prohibited its mayor from issuing proclamations. Councillors in Lethbridge voted unanimously Monday to approve a name change that will see Adams Park Ice Centre become Logan Boulet Arena. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

Father of Broncos player who died says Alberta organ donation bill needs work

Six people benefited from organs harvested from his son, Logan, was one of 16 killed in the crash

The father of a Broncos hockey player whose organs were donated after he died in a catastrophic bus crash says a presumed consent bill before the Alberta legislature is a good start but has a long way to go.

“There’s way more that needs to be added to the bill,” Toby Boulet said in an interview Monday.

Matthew Jones, a government backbencher, has introduced a private member’s bill that would allow organs to be automatically harvested unless a person had opted out while still alive.

Medical officials have long wondered about how to improve the rate of organ donation in Alberta, where the transplant recipient waiting list stands at more than 700. The provincial rate is well below the one-quarter of Canadians who have signed up to donate their organs.

“In Alberta we need to do better,” Boulet says.

Six people benefited from organs harvested from his son, Logan, who was one of 16 people killed when the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus and a transport truck collided in April 2018 at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.

Logan had signed up shortly before to be a donor. Canadian Blood Services estimated that within two months of his death more than 150,000 people registered to pass on their organs. It became known as the Logan Boulet Effect.

Boulet supports the purpose of the bill, which has passed first reading, but he says it could do more harm than good unless there’s more work done to back up its intent.

He and his family have become advocates for organ donation. He points out that the percentage of Alberta families who approve an organ donation from a loved one — even if that person has signed a donor card — has declined steeply.

Boulet predicts that would continue if the proposed legislation were to become law, because it includes a way that families could opt out of presumed consent after someone died.

A BBC investigation found that some countries, including France and Brazil, experienced a decline in organ donations after bringing in presumed consent laws.

Awareness and education programs will continue to be necessary if some version of Alberta’s bill passes, Boulet suggests.

“There’s that education (and) cultural shift that we need and that’s not in the bill.”

He says the bill needs other tweaks, including some assurance that doctors would be available everywhere to harvest potentially life-saving organs.

“You need to have surgical teams that are dedicated and ready to go at a moment’s notice. We only have that in Calgary and Edmonton.”

As well, many rural hospitals lack the equipment needed to keep donated organs viable until they can be transplanted, Boulet adds.

The bill’s biggest failing, he says, is that it can’t address people’s attitudes.

“It’s pretty hard, in my opinion, to tell Albertans to do anything,” says Boulet.

“Albertans do the right thing. But if you tell them what to do, they don’t do the right thing.

“If you tell someone you’re going to have presumed consent in a law, that’s not going to go over very well.”

Jones’s bill is expected to go to committee, where it may be modified.

READ MORE: ‘Quite optimistic:’ Injured Bronco player undergoes spinal surgery in Thailand

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second Haida Nation webinar centres on mental health, well-being amid COVID-19

Haida Gwaii Talks Coronavirus guests led live exercises, shared free advice, apps and more

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

What’s your housing story? Port Clements needs assessment is underway

Survey of current residents, landlords, future residents runs until April 15

Port Clements applies for Community Trails and Recreation Program Grant

New hope for community trail projects impacted by reallocation of Rural Dividend money

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read