Help save a life – by joining the Organ Donor Register
AT least 40 people in Exeter, North, Mid and East Devon are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
The figures have been revealed ahead of National Transplant Week, which takes place from July 9 to 15.
The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is using the week to encourage local people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register (ODR).
You could save seven lives after your death through donating your organs – and restore the sight of two people.
This year the Trust is highlighting the crucial importance of passing on your donation wishes to family and friends so they know what you would like to happen after your death.
Sarah Rundle, the specialist nurse in organ donation at North Devon District Hospital, explains more.
“This year’s National Transplant Week focuses around the message ‘Pass it On’.
The importance of passing on your wishes and letting your significant others know about your decision to save lives after your death is often overlooked.
The Organ Donor Register allows people to express their wishes, yet it is our families who will discuss this with the doctors and nurses when faced with the traumatic loss of a loved one.
Does your family know your wishes?
Nationally, there are more than 7,500 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, but every day three will die while waiting for a suitable donor.
There are at least 40 people in Exeter, North, Mid and East Devon currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and others who are too ill to undertake a transplant operation, having been on the waiting list for too long.
Very few of us would decline an organ if we needed a life-saving transplant, but only 28% of the UK population has registered on the Organ Donor Register.
So perhaps you should ask yourself: ‘Is it not time I signed up to this amazing national initiative?’
Signing up is not a guarantee your organs will be donated if you die, as registration is not a contract or part of your will.
Only half of those registered ever discuss their wishes with immediate family or guardians and as a result loved ones may be asked to make what seems to be an impossible decision, adding to their anguish at the time of your death.
So please ensure your incredibly generous gift is delivered.
People waiting for an organ transplant
People who had life-saving transplants last year thanks to local residents
People whose sight was restored last year thanks to local residents
People on Organ Donor Register
Pass on your wishes to your closest family – parents, spouses, siblings – leaving them in no doubt should they ever have to decide.
Becoming an organ donor is no small undertaking and is a deeply personal decision.
Many people have real concerns about the process and their treatment at the end of life.
Social taboos, an unwillingness to accept death and ‘urban myths’ about the transplantation process all present barriers to acceptance of this subject.
Information is available to answer questions you may have to allow you to make an informed choice regarding donation.
As the specialist nurse in organ donation, I am here to talk through this option and ensure that decisions are based on the facts and not the myths.
For the facts about donation and transplantation, please visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.
Here at North Devon District Hospital, we are able to facilitate organ donation through the specialist services of the national organ donation team, who work in conjunction with intensive care, A&E and the theatre departments.
Last year 19 people were given life-saving transplant operations due to Exeter, North, Mid and East Devon people giving the gift of life after their death.
NDDH can also facilitate tissue donation and last year the sight of seven people was restored through corneal transplants from local people.
Unlike organ donation, tissue donation can be considered for anyone who dies in the hospital.
Let your wish be heard and tell someone you want to save lives after your death.”
National Transplant Week is led by NHS Blood and Transplant, which has an office in Sowton, Exeter.
During the week there will be a display in the foyer at North Devon District Hospital, where the public can find out more and sign up to the Organ Donor Register.
The Trust has also given information packs to schools and colleges as part of its campaign to raise awareness.
As of today, a total of 155,628 people in Exeter, North, Mid and East Devon are on the Organ Donor Register.
Graham Farrar, chairman of the Trust’s organ donation committee, received a heart transplant in 2010. Read his life-changing story here
To add your name to the Organ Donor Register:
or Call 0300 123 2323
or Text REGISTER to 84880
Sarah Rundle, the Trust’s specialist nurse in organ donation, alleviates some common concerns about the transplantation process.
“People often decide themselves that they would not be a suitable donor due to an existing medical condition or their age.
However, in most circumstances, having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor.
In the case of corneas and some other tissue, age does not matter.
The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by a healthcare professional.
Organs and tissue from people in their 70s and 80s are transplanted successfully.
The doctors looking after a patient have to make every possible effort to save the patient’s life. That is their first duty.
If, despite their efforts, the patient dies, organ and tissue donation can then be considered and a completely different team of donation and transplant specialists would be called in. Registration does not have any influence over hospital care.
Organs are only removed for transplantation after a person has died. Death is confirmed in exactly the same way for people who donate organs as for those who do not.
The information you supply will only be used by NHS Blood and Transplant to register your wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register and by healthcare professionals in the event of your death.
Your personal details will not be passed to any individual or organisation without seeking your explicit consent.
I’m not sure if I’ve already registered, what should I do? Either write in and ask (the confidential nature of the register means we cannot tell you over the phone) or apply to join and our system will identify if you are already on the register and update any relevant details.”