Every so often, the desperate need for organ donors is highlighted in the national press and this difficult subject is brought to the nation's attention. Once again, it is a very personal decision, but certainly one you should discuss with your immediate family, and at least make your views known.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) was established as a Special Health Authority in England and Wales in October 2005 with responsibilities across the United Kingdom in relation to organ transplantation. Its remit is to provide a reliable, efficient supply of blood, organs and associated services to the NHS.
There are currently just over 14 million registered organ donors in the UK (23% of the population) who have said they want to help others live after their death by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. UK Transplant has unveiled plans to increase organ transplant numbers to new levels as part of the NHSBT's strategy.
The generosity of donors and their families enables nearly 3,000 people inthe UK every year to take on a new lease of life. It is now possible to use all the major organs (heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas and small bowel) in transplantation and so one donor is able to help many other people.
Cornea transplantation is one of medicine's big success stories and is one of the most commonly performed transplant operations with a very good success rate, helping more than 2,000 blind and partially-sighted people. However, the shortage of donated corneas means that many more people could be given the opportunity to see again if there were more donors.
If the death happened in hospital, staff may ask for permission to use organs for transplantation. Many people find such an approach difficult in the early stages of bereavement but organs have to be removed very soon after death.
Other organs such as corneas and heart valves can be removed anything up to 72 hours after death.
If death occurs at home or somewhere other than a hospital, organs other than the corneas cannot usually be used
Organs will not be removed without the consent of the relatives, which is why it is worthwhile making your wishes known beforehand. This also helps save relatives from the distress of making a decision without the relevant information.
The national donor register is designed to help hospitals identify and approach grieving families. When transplant teams know the intentions of the deceased, only one per cent of families refuse to allow organs to be taken, compared to 30 per cent when intentions are not known. Apparently, the national donor register was only searched 20 times last year by hospitals, which is another reason for the Governments initiative.
Contact www.uktransplant.org.uk and sign up on line to the NHS Organ Donor Register or contact 0845 60 60 400 and discuss your wishes with your relatives if you do wish to donate your organs.
Fox Den Road,
Bristol BS34 8RR
Tel: 0117 975 7575 Fax; 0117 975 7577
You can also find further information at BODY, the British Organ Donor Society at http://body.orpheusweb.co.uk/ and www.nhs.uk
The UK National Kidney Federation is run by and for kidney donors at www.kidney.org.uk
The Live Life Then Give Life campaign has been created to raise awareness of organ donation and the chronic lack of organ donors in the UK. It aims to encourage people to show their support for organ donation by wearing one of two tee shirts that have been produced especially for the campaign - www.livelifethengivelife.co.uk
To donate blood, please call The National Blood Service on 0845 7 711 711 or visit www.blood.co.uk
White sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a
Mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with
The living and the dying. At a certain moment a
Doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to
Function and that, for all intents and purposes, my
Life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instil
Life into my body by the use of a machine.
And don’t call this my deathbed. Let it be called the
Bed of life and let my body be taken from it to help
Others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen
A sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a
Woman. Give my heart to a person whose own heart
Has caused nothing but endless days of pain. Give
My blood to the teen-ager who was pulled from the
Wreckage of his car so that he might live to see his
Grandchildren play. Give my kidneys to one whom
Depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fibre and every
Nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells,
If necessary and let them grow so that someday a
Speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and
A deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the
Winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my
Weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow
Give my soul to God.
If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with
A kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If
You do all I have asked, I will live forever - SWALK1955
Help us spread the word
More than 16.1 million people have already joined the NHS Organ Donor Register. It’s a magnificent number. But we know that millions more support organ donation yet haven’t got round to signing up. If they did sign up, then many more lives could be saved.
This is where our campaigning work comes in.
We campaign to:
raise awareness about the success of transplantation and the urgent need for more organ donors
make it easier for people to find out more and join the NHS Organ Donor Register
encourage people to talk about their wishes with their family and friends.
You too can help
Whether you’re an individual, a business or a charity, there are lots of different ways in which you can get involved. We can offer you free leaflets, posters and other resources and give you useful tips to make your campaign a success.
So what about it? Will you help us?
Organ donation: the gift of life
Already carry a card?
Carrying the card is a great start, but to be a registered organ donor you need to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Today more than 9,000 people in the UK need an organ transplant that could save or dramatically improve their life. Most are waiting for a kidney, others for a heart, lung or liver transplant. But less than 3,000 transplants are carried out each year.
Transplants are one of the most miraculous achievements of modern medicine. But they depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to make this life-saving gift to others.
Desperate need for more donors
There is a desperate need for more donors. Last year more than 400 people died while waiting for a transplant. One in ten people waiting for a heart transplant will die and many others will lose their lives before they even get on to the waiting list.
The more people who pledge to donate their organs after their death, the more people stand to benefit. By choosing to join the NHS Organ Donor Register you could help make sure life goes on.
Transplants save lives
In the UK between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009:
3,496 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 1,836 donors.
976 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney, liver/pancreas, heart/kidney or liver/kidney/pancreas transplant.
A total of 2,520 patients received a kidney, pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
A further 2,708 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant.
A record number of donors were living donors, 936 people donated a kidney or a segment of their liver or lung, representing more than half of all donors.
The highest number of non-heartbeating donor transplants took place- 579 transplants, a 35% increase on 2007-2008.
Living donor kidney transplants are increasing - 589 in 2005-2006, 690 in 2006-2007, 831 in 2007-2008 and 910 in 2008-2009 and now represent more than one in three of all kidney transplants.
At the end of March 2009, 7,877 patients were listed as actively waiting for a transplant.
Almost a million more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, bringing the total at 31 March 2009 to 16,124,871.
Comprehensive data for the period 2007-2008 is available in the PDF report Transplant Activity 2007-2008.
All statistics we produce and publish undergo a vigorous validation process to ensure, as far as possible, that information is factually accurate
ORGAN DONATION: PUBLIC AWARENESS IS KEY TO SUCCESS
Members of the public are invited to take part in a first online survey to test people's wishes in joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. Have your say via: UK Transplant Survey
This survey is at the request of the Special Health Authority NHS Blood and Transplant, NHSBT.
Friends of BODY.
You may be a organ and tissue donor in the future but you can help immediately by assisting BODY to enable people to make informed and voluntary choices regarding organ and tissue donation.
Please select Friends
Organ Donor Register
You can be an organ donor at any age. Please talk to those closest to you about donation so that they can respect your wishes
- Don't take your organs to Heaven. Heaven knows we need them here.
- Be an organ donor. All it costs is a little love.
Think it over. Pray about it. Talk to your family. Organ and tissue donation is a great way to make a tangible difference in someone's life. They (and their family) will forever be grateful.
After your death, your organs and tissues can save and improve the lives of over 80 people! Think what a legacy that will be. And remember, some organs (e.g. kidney) can be given by a living donor.
When I quit this mortal shore
And mosey 'round this earth no more,
Do not weep and do not sob;
I may have found a better job.
Don't go and buy a large bouquet
For which you'll find it hard to pay,
Don't mope around and feel all blue;
I may be better off than you.
Don't tell the folks I was a saint
Or any old thing that I ain't.
If you have jam like that to spread,
Please hand it out before I'm dead.
If you have roses bless your soul,
Just pin one in my buttonhole
While I'm alive and well today;
Don't wait until I'm gone away.