Plaque unveiled at Airedale Hospital to man whose organs helped 5 lives
The daughter of a Skipton man who donated his organs to help others, proudly unveiled a special dedication in his honour at Airedale Hospital last week, in celebration of his life and the lives he saved.
23 year old Patsy Hofman visited the ICU at the hospital to unveil the plaque of her dad, Matthew Hofman, was only 48 when he died 3 years ago from a sudden brain haemorrhage. The picture was chosen by the family and shows Matthew at the Ribblesdale Holiday Park where he worked as a chef.
Patsy says: “I will never forget the day he died but neither will the parents of the 11 day old baby who received his heart valves. He also helped 4 other people get a transplant with his liver, kidney, pancreas and corneas.”
The dedication is displayed in the relative’s room on the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, in the hope it will encourage others to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and to help and give some comfort to other families who are considering the decision to agree to organ donation in the saddest of circumstances.
In Matthew’s case he was already on the NHS Organ Donor Register, although the family didn’t know that as they had never had the conversation and it was Patsy herself who first suggested he might donate his organs.
The unveiling took place during Organ Donation Week when NHS Blood and Transplant are encouraging people to talk about organ donation with their relatives and friends. This way, if you are ever able to be an organ donor your family won’t be left with making a difficult decision without knowing what you wanted.
Rachel Wiseman, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:
“It’s all about having that conversation. There are only ever a very small proportion of people who will ever be in circumstances to donate their organs because they have to die in the circumstances that Matthew sadly did, that is on ICU. In Patsy and Matthew’s case he was on the register but a lot of people have never had that conversation and that makes those decisions really difficult.”
Patsy has received regular updates about the recipients which has given her comfort and helped with her loss.
Patsy says: “I would just say how helpful it was for me to get those letters and to know that some good had come out of it. I would encourage others to think about organ donation, so they can have that sense that something good has come out of it. I always think of it in terms of my dad was always fixing things, if anything was broken he would keep the parts for the next thing that he had to fix, to me it’s a bit like that.”
Rachel Wiseman says: A lot of our families say that it helps them, not always at that immediate time but in years to come they get a lot of comfort out of the fact that it has helped a lot of people, that there was nothing that they could do any more but they’ve actually been able to help other people live. It’s a fact that 3 people die every day waiting for a transplant.”
Over the last year 194 people in West Yorkshire, 74 people in North Yorkshire and 126 people in Lancashire have received lifesaving or life changing transplants. However hundreds of transplants are being missed around the country every year because families don’t know what their relative wanted.
NHS Blood and Transplant surveys show more than 80% of people support organ donation but only around 49% of people have ever talked about it. Research shows that women are 30% more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.
It’s really easy for everyone to take part in Organ Donation Week – just have a chat. That chat might be the next time you sit down for a meal, when you are shopping or working, or when you are just driving in the car. If you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead, even if you are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are really grateful for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust’s support because hundreds of lives are being lost every year.
“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.
“If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family; what would you do if one of you needed a transplant? Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”