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

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

VIDEO: Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens play to the crowd in Nelson

The charity game was a spectacle from puck drop

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

RCMP still investigating body found between Nelson, Castlegar

Halimi’s body was found between Nelson and Castlegar in May 2018

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Most Read