More than 10,000 people in the UK are awaiting a transplant at any one time. Sadly, three of these people die each day.
While research by the NHS shows that 87% of us are in favour of being a donor after death and 94% said they would accept an organ donation if their life was at risk only 28% of the population is on the organ donation register.
Jayne Greenhalgh, the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, used to work in an intensive care unit, which specialised in liver and kidney transplants, and says: “I have seen for myself the difference a transplant can make. These patients are incredibly poorly, usually with very little quality of life. A transplant changes that and can mean that someone goes on to live a happy, healthy life, all thanks to their amazing donor.”
As part of the Yorkshire Organ Donation Team, Jayne is one of the professionals who speak to the families of potential donors. She explains how a donation takes place: “A message will come through to our pager system, usually from one of our A&E departments or Intensive Care Units, informing the team that a patient is sadly not expected to survive. It is always a sad call. We take some details and assess whether the patient could have the potential to donate their organs after they have died. We would also check to see if they have expressed their wishes about donation on the National Organ Donor Register.
“Sometimes families will already have come forward to say they know their loved one would want to be a donor, but if they haven’t then it’s a conversation I would have with them when the time was right.
“Our message to anyone interested in becoming an organ donor is to speak to your loved ones and tell them your wishes; it makes it far easier for a family to make this decision on your behalf it they know your wishes.”
Jayne supports families through the entire process of donation and says: “These donors and their families are very special. Their generosity and thought for others at such a difficult time is always inspiring.”
In the last four months donors in our area have given the Gift of Life through 24 transplants – including one heart transplant, four liver transplants, 10 kidney transplants and 4 corneal transplant.