A Personal Directive guides your personal decisions. It is a legal document allowing you to name a decision maker and/or provide written instructions to be followed when, due to illness or injury, you no longer have the capacity to make decisions such as where you live or the medical treatment you will receive.

The Human Tissue And Organ Donation Act in Alberta states:

3(1) A person’s tissue, organs or body may be donated for transplantation, medical education or scientific research only in accordance with this Act.

Donations of organs and tissues may include:

Organs: heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and small bowel
• Tissues: eyes, skin, heart valves, bones, tendons and placenta

Alberta Health – Organ and Tissue Donation in Alberta

About Organ Donation
Sometimes, an organ donor may be a living donor. This means that donating the organ will not harm the person. An example of this is when a brother gives 1 of his 2 kidneys to his sister or a mother gives part of her liver to her child.

Organs can only be donated if:
• there has been severe brain damage and the person is no longer alive and
• the person has been maintained on a ventilator until the organs are removed

An organ donor usually dies an unexpected, tragic death after a severe brain injury. This often happens because of a motor vehicle accident, bleeding in the brain, or a trauma like a very bad fall.

About Tissue Donation
Tissues do not require the same conditions as organs to survive, so tissue donation is possible after the heart and lungs have stopped working.

Tissues for donation must be removed within 12 to 24 hours after a person dies. The donor doesn’t need to be maintained on a ventilator.

This is a clause we can add to your Personal Directive:

If any of my tissues, organs or body are sound and would be of value as transplants to help other people, or for medical education or research, I freely give my permission for such donation.

Please contact us, if you have any questions about organ and tissue donation.

Peter Robinson (56 Posts)

Peter G. Robinson is an accomplished and skilled general practice lawyer in Calgary, Alberta. Over his 20 year career, Peter has carved out his niche in Residential Real Estate, Wills & Estate Planning, and Probate Applications.

Uniquely available to his clients, Peter is a calm and patient communicator who easily puts his clients at ease with straight-forward explanations of legal concepts. Blogging is his latest venture to cultivate awareness of NW Calgary Law, a law firm where he is the hands-on leader of an enthusiastic team dedicated to prompt and efficient service.

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The content contained in these blogs is intended to provide information about the subject matter and is not intended as legal advice.

If you would like further information or advice on any of the subjects discussed in this blog post, please contact the author at NW Calgary Law at 403.265.3010 or

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