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

Kootenay Savings donates to East Kootenay Foundation for Health

With the importance at health care never more apparent than in the… Continue reading

Cranbrook Bucks set to open rookie camp at the end of August

Junior hockey will feature in Cranbrook at the end of the month,… Continue reading

Canadian distillers petition government to lower excise tax rate

Distilleries, like Kimberley’s Bohemian Spirits, wish to see excise rate match United States’

Smoky skies bulletin issued for Kimberley, Cranbrook

The area is likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours: Interior Health

Compound 1080 confirmed in dog deaths in Gold Creek area

Pathologist believes the poisoning was secondary

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read