You may or may not be aware that this week September 4th-10th is Organ Donation week. This is a subject that is close to my heart being a NHS worker and my husband working for NHS blood and Transplant.
This years Organ donation week is focusing on encouraging people to talk about organ donation.
Why is this important?
I know that for some this can be a discussion they’d rather not have, contemplating their death, but its a really important conversation to have. Other reasons for people not having this conversation are not considering it before and not wanting to upset people. But Surely you want your feelings about organ donation to be known to your loved ones. Then at least if the worst were to happen your family are aware of your wishes about organ donation and it may make their decision about whether to donate or not easier during a very difficult time.
Before writing this post I was unaware that although the law states that the decision for organ donation or not if your own, your families consent is always sought and should they override your decision, the NHS will abide by this.
Presently less than half (47%) of families agree to consent to donation if they are unaware of their loved ones decision to be a donor. But in families where the decision to be an organ donor is known this rises to 9 out of 10 families consenting. Put this together with the fact that 8 out of 10 people support organ donation in the Uk but about half have never talked to anyone about their wishes, and you can see the problem. So many more lives could be improved or saved if we all just made our wishes known to our families!
So what does all this mean?
In short, its great to be on the organ donation register but make sure that you also discuss your wishes with loved ones. This way will lead to more lives saved!
Did you know?
Right now across the UK, there are around 6,500 people in need of an organ transplant, including around 150 childen and teenagers. On average three people die every day in need of an organ transplant because there just aren’t enough organ donors.
For people in the black, Asian and ethnic minority communities the situation is even more critical. They wait longer than white patients for kidney transplants due to lack of suitable organs.
If you donate your organs after you die you could save and improve the lives of up to nine people, and help even more if you donate tissue.
Only around 5000 people across the UK each year die in circumstances where they could donate their organs.
Take at look at the this video about Freddie and his brother and their organ donation story.
Take home message from NHS Blood and Transplant-
We need as many people as possible to register their commitment to becoming organ donors so if they die in circumstances where their organs or tissue could be used to help others, authorised NHS Blood and Transplant staff can see what they wanted to happen. You can do this by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register www.organdonation.nhs.uk and by telling your family that you want them to support your decision.
We know many people don’t want to think about their own death. But patients waiting for a transplant depend on people of all ages thinking about whether they want to save lives when they die and registering their decision to become a donor.
Your age, nor any existing medical conditions should stop you from signing up and telling your family that you want them to support your decision to donate, if and when the time comes.
Go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk today to register as a donor. It only takes a few minutes to register and please remember to tell your family that you want them to support your decision to donate and save lives. Ask them whether they want to be donors too. #YesIDonate