Could you talk to your loved ones about organ donation?
Have members of your family ever talked about what you would do if one of you needed a heart, liver, kidney or other organ transplant to live? Would you accept a life-saving organ from a donor?
If you would take an organ, would you be prepared to donate yours to save lives when you die? These are questions health experts are encouraging families to consider and talk about during Organ Donation Week (4-10 September).
NHS Blood and Transplant is asking families not to leave talking about organ donation until it’s too late. While most people support organ donation, many people don’t realise that their family’s support is needed for organ donation to go ahead. Many people haven’t told their family how they feel about organ donation and their family won’t know their wishes unless they talk about it.
Care UK’s Lesley Boler, a Queens Nurse who heads the secondary care governance team, has already signed up to donate her organs. She said: “I signed up to organ donation when I first got my driving licence and even though it can be a difficult conversation I have told my husband what organs I am happy to donate.
“I have to admit I am still unsure about donating my eyes but when I think of the amazing operations they can do nowadays I am starting to have second thoughts. If I can help a number of people after my death then that can only be for the good.”
Debra Fox, Care UK’s expert on dementia, added: “I have always been registered as an organ donor and I am more than happy to do this. I like the idea that I could contribute to improving someone else’s life, hopefully providing a new opportunity and that my family can take comfort that something positive can come from such a difficult time.”
An organ donor can save or transform up to nine people’s lives and help even more by donating tissue, such as the donation of sight. If you want to save lives, a few words now with your family can make an extraordinary difference.
Last year nearly 460 families of potential organ donors declined to donate. Here is Charles Duke, 22, from New Milton, who has cystic fibrosis and is waiting for a lung transplant, with Isabel Sewell, 20, from Poole, who has polycystic kidney disease and is waiting for a kidney transplant, with 460 empty organ and tissue transport boxes. Read more here.