Spreading the word about joining the organ donor register
Members of the East Sussex Healthcare Organ Donation Group were helping to raise awareness of organ donation last weekend as part of The Rotary Club of Eastbourne Know Your Blood Pressure Day at the Arndale Centre. During the day 13 people signed up for the Organ Donor Register and many more took forms away to complete at home.
Dr Tuhin Goswami, Clinical Lead Organ Donation said, “We are pleased more people have signed up to the organ donation register but would encourage more to do so. In the UK, one in three people die every day, while waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. It doesn’t have to be this way. We want to encourage people to sign up to the donor register but more importantly, to tell their next of kin of their wishes. Telling your nearest and dearest is important so they fully understand and honour your wishes regarding organ and tissue donation. It’s true that in the UK, 2 out of 5 (40%) families refuse organ donation even if their loved one has signed and consented to this on the organ donor register.”
“Each and every organ donor can give the gift of life and save up to nine people and can help many more through tissue donation such as skin, corneas and tendons. Because of this, we want to do all we can to ensure all local people who want to donate are able to by making sure they sign up to the Organ Donor Register and talk about their wishes with their families.”
Local MP Caroline Ansell visited the team at the Arndale. She said, “I was concerned to learn that the number of donors and transplants fell for the first time last year. One aspect of the campaign was particularly highlighted, that being the importance for donors to share their wishes with their families. In four cases out of ten, bereaved families who hadn’t previously been aware of their loved one’s decision withdraw consent at what is understandably a very distressing time.”
The fact is that most people are desperately waiting for one organ transplant such as a heart, lung, kidney or liver to transform their life. One single organ donor can donate several organs thus helping up to 9 different people. Tissues can also be donated such as cornea (the transparent layer at the front of the eye), bone, heart valves, skin, tendons and cartilage. All donors have the choice of which organs and tissues they wish to donate.
Organ donor’s names are held on the NHS Organ Donor Register. It is a confidential national database that holds the details of people who want to donate their organs when they die. However we still need the donor’s family to agree and honour the donor’s wishes after death. Anyone can join the register by visiting the organ donation website www.organdonation.nhs.uk/how_to_become_a_donor/registration or calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23.