A Derry doctor has revealed that 25 people received life-saving transplants in the local area over the past eighteen months.
The comments made by Dr Declan Grace, Lead Clinician for Organ Donation at the Western Trust, come during organ donation week where people have been encouraged to register as donors.
He explained that eight deceased donors from the Western Trust’s acute hospitals in the past 18 months, resulted in 25 patients receiving transplants.
Dr Grace said: “That is 25 lives saved, people receiving kidney, liver, pancreas, heart or lung transplants for example which is just brilliant.”
Around 47% of the adult population in Northern Ireland have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register.
However, there is a real shortage of organ donations and approximately 140 people in Northern Ireland and approximately 6,000 people in the United Kingdom are waiting for life-saving transplants.
Tragically, every year approximately 14 people in Northern Ireland die waiting for an organ transplant.
In July, the health minister announced plans to hold a consultation moving towards introducing a soft opt-out system for organ donation in Northern Ireland.
This would mean that adults automatically become donors, unless they specifically say otherwise.
It would bring Northern Ireland into line with the other countries in the UK.
Dr Grace said that most of us are familiar with the need for kidney transplants but heart, liver, lung, pancreas and small bowel transplants are also regularly performed.
Furthermore, tissue such as corneas and heart valves can be donated and transplanted.
During Organ Donation Week, 7-13 September 2020, the Western Trust is focussed on encouraging more people to sign up to become an organ donor and importantly to have a conversation with those closest to them about organ donation.
Dr Declan Grace, Lead Clinician for Organ Donation at the Western Trust said: “Organ Donation really is the gift of life and we are encouraging everyone to join the Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones that they wish to be a donor.
“Becoming an organ donor is your decision but it does affect your family. Many people do not realise that their family’s support is necessary for organ donation to proceed.
After your death your family will be consulted and any decision they make on your behalf will be respected.
“Therefore, when families know your wishes it makes the situation less stressful for them, the decision to donate less difficult and gives them the confidence to fulfil your wish to be an organ donor.”
“Talking about organ donation with your family does not need to be difficult. Explain how you arrived at your decision and what prompted you to sign the Organ Donor Register. Explain that each organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives and that you want to do so. This conversation may in turn encourage others in your family to sign the register as well.
“The more people who pledge to donate their organs and tissues after their death, the more people stand to benefit. From April 2019 to 31 March 2020 there were four organ donors in the Western Trust area resulting in 10 patients receiving a life- saving or life-changing transplant.”
Dr Grace continued: “The Western Trust continues to promote organ donation in partnership with civic partners, our District Councils, Colleges, Universities and Businesses.
While the number of people who have registered as potential donors is very encouraging, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure as many people as possible join the Organ Donor Register and tell their loved ones about their wishes.
“Sign up today - we can save many lives and together we shall do so.”
There are many ways to register as a potential donor:
· Register online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or www.organdonationni.info
· Register when applying for or renewing a driving licence.
· Register when registering with a G.P Practice.
· Telephone the N.H.S. Donor Line 0300 123 23 23. Telephone lines are open
24 hours a day all year round.
· Download a form from www.organdonation.nhs.uk, print it and return it by
· Register when applying for a Boot’s Advantage Card.
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