Hospital staff support organ donation at special event
Pictured L to R: Rachel Wiseman, Specialist Nurse, Organ Donation, Peter Allen, Governor for Skipton and Dr Eleanor Checkley, Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation
It’s a fact that over 6500 people are currently waiting for a transplant in the UK and 3 people die every day due to the shortage of people being willing to donate organs.
So a special event was held at Airedale Hospital to ask staff, governors and volunteers to become organ donation champions and to help patients and families get information or advice on organ donation.
Amongst the speakers at the event was Peter Allen, a hospital governor from Skipton whose daughter Debbie had a kidney transplant 40 years ago in 1977 from a 14 year old donor.
Peter says: The donor’s parents were very brave to make the decision to donate their child’s organs and we are very, very thankful. My daughter’s transplant has worked well and she has had a very fulfilling life and has done things she just wouldn’t have been able to do without her transplant. She was able to complete school and college and have a job as a nanny for many years. There is no doubt if she didn’t receive the transplant when she did, she would have died. It is difficult to comprehend how the donor’s family must have felt, but my daughter, my family and I are so grateful. It’s very important for people to join the register – you can be a hero and change lives.”
Those on the kidney transplant list wait an average of 944 days – 2 and a half years – to receive their organ. Since last year, 62% of the patients who have died waiting for an organ transplant were patients waiting for a kidney, or a kidney and another organ. If someone dies without registering to donate their organs, medical staff would need to ask the patient’s next of kin to make the decision and it can be a big burden for families to make such an important decision at such a difficult time. Nationally less than half of families approached about donation agree to donate a relative’s organs if they are unaware of their relative’s decision to be a donor. When a family says no to donation, someone waiting for a transplant may miss out on their only opportunity for a transplant which could save their life.
Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Eleanor Checkley who is clinical lead for organ donation at the hospital said:
“We currently have 64 people in our local area who are waiting for an organ transplant. That’s 64 people living with disability and discomfort and so our aim is to close the gap between the numbers waiting and the transplants available.”
Rachel Wiseman, Specialist Nurse for Organ donation added: ”Events like this one today give our staff the knowledge they need to help us spread the word about the importance of organ donation, how to join the register and how to help and support families.”
Most people say they support organ donation, but around 35% who want to be donors say they just ‘haven’t got round’ to joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. As an organ donor you could save or transform up to nine lives. To join the register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.