6th September 2018

Organ Donation Week – Why it’s so important to talk about it

Members of the East Sussex Healthcare Organ Donation Committee are encouraging people across the county to talk about organ donation with their families.

This Organ Donation Week (3rd to 9th September), ask yourselves as a family what you would do if one of you needed a transplant: would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d accept an organ, would you be prepared to donate to save lives when you die too?

Dr Tuhin Goswami, ESHT Organ Donation Clinical Lead said: “We’re reminding people that no matter what their age, Organ Donation Week is a great opportunity to chat with their family and let them know whether they want to donate their organs when they die. It doesn’t need to take long, it could be a quick natter after dinner or a WhatsApp, but it’s important that their decision is shared. A few words can make an extraordinary difference.

“Last year, 50 people from East Sussex had their lives saved by a transplant, but in the past five years, 23 people in East Sussex have died waiting for a transplant. 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.

“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 so by making sure they sign up to the Organ Donor Register, and talk about their wishes with their families.”

People who are waiting for an organ transplant, 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 nine 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 the donor family still need 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.