Wednesday, July 08, 2009

'Don't keep donor intentions secret'

This is National Transplant Week in the UK and the British papers are full of stories promoting organ donation awareness. I selected this one because it exemplifies the importance of talking to your family and loved ones about your intentions to be an organ donor. I also agree with Lewis Sander's views on an 'opt out' or 'presumed consent' system for organ donation. As Mr Sander says, "Giving an organ should be just that – a gift – and that’s how things should remain".

Northampton Chronical

A DOUBLE transplant patient from Northampton is appealing to anyone who wants to donate organs after their death not to keep it a secret from their family or risk jeopardizing their wish.

Lewis Sander has received both a new heart and a new kidney from donors. He now campaigns for awareness about the way organ transplants work and is helping spread the word during National Transplant Week, which is this week.

Mr Sander, from Wheatfield Road, Abington, Northampton, said the lives of many more ill people could be saved if the potential donors would fully face up to their responsibilities.

The 60-year-old, who is the ex-chairman of Northamptonshire Kidney Patients’ Association, said: “The biggest problem with donation at the moment is that some people will carry a card and be on the register yet not talk to their family about it.

“Consequently, it’s a bit difficult for all concerned if a surgeon says to someone’s parents: ‘Your son’s just died’ and then, in the same breath, says: ‘By the way, can we have his organs’?.

“If they are not prepared it’s very tough for people to comprehend something like that and permission is sometimes refused. The pity is that there’s not enough organs because of that.”

Mr Sander was diagnosed with heart trouble aged 13. In October 1998 he was given the heart of a 26-year-old who had died during an operation at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex, following a car crash. Mr Sander is now chairman of their club for ex-transplant patients.

Nine years later, the anti-rejection medication had caused severe kidney damage which required a kidney transplant.

However, despite his two life-saving operations Mr Sander said he comes down on the ‘against’ side of the controversial debate about presumed consent for organ donations.

He said: “Having to opt out of something like that feels a bit too much like a conveyor belt approach. Giving an organ should be just that – a gift – and that’s how things should remain.”

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation

No comments: