An organ donation card is currently the easiest way to put a written will next to your life will. (Zwornik / Christian Beutler)
Organ donation voting has given many Swiss the opportunity to express their will. More than ever, we asked for a donor card.
On May 15, Switzerland decided to change the paradigm: anyone who does not make it clear that they do not want to donate their organs should be considered a potential organ donor. However, the change in law is unlikely to enter into force for another two years.
However, it seems that the vote was a wake-up call for many to get involved. “The rush was huge,” says Stephanie Balliana, spokeswoman for Swisstransplant, the Swiss National Foundation for Organ Donation and Transplantation. In the first three days after the vote, Swisstransplant ordered and shipped 4,500 organ donation cards – a record number.
Growth already during the election campaign
Especially since ID cards can be obtained not only from Swisstransplant, but also through other channels, such as the website of the Federal Office of Public Health, pharmacies or general practitioners. In addition to yes or no for organ donation, the card may also indicate a loved one who should make a decision in the event of death.
The Federal Office of Public Health cannot give any exact figures when asked, but writes upon request that “a large number of cards” were requested during the voting phase and after the referendum.
Swisstransplant also saw an increase in orders since Easter in mid-April. As of January, there were 20,000. The numbers are difficult to compare with previous years, as many people have used the Swisstransplant online registry in the last three years, more than 130,000 people. This had to go offline early in the year due to gaps in data protection law.
The registry can be used again from mid-January, but with serious restrictions. New entries are not possible. Existing entries cannot be changed, only deleted. However, according to Swisstransplant, only a few took advantage of this option: 750 entries have been deleted since January, out of a total of over 10,000 entries.
Balliana from Swisstransplant believes that the organ donor card has been of particular importance since the registry collapsed.
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It is still uncertain whether the registry will be made available online again before the federal registry is available in two years. The board of trustees wants to make a decision based on a report from the Federal Data Protection Agency, which is not yet available, says Balliana.
However, people not only wanted to keep the will, but also wanted to learn more about it. While around 2,000 visitors a day walk through the organ donation foundation’s website during normal hours, on May 15, there were around 20,000 visitors during peak hours.
However, the race died down again in a similar period to the fever for organ donation cards: as of May 18, the numbers returned to normal.