20210920_102231.jpgWe are marking Organ Donation week by encouraging everyone to have a conversation with your family about whether you want to be an organ donor or not. That way if the worst could happen you have left them certain.

Our specialist organs donation nurse explains why having a conversation about organ donation is so important.

Organ, eye and tissue donation saves and improves lives. It’s hard to imagine how it would feel to be waiting on a ward for a heart donation for nine months but for some, this is their reality. We could save more lives if only we had the conversations.

The difference you could make to not one but many lives is incredible:

Jacqueline Newby, Specialist Organ Donation Nurse explains:

“One person donating after their death can provide life-saving transplants for up to 9 recipients; restore eyesight for up to 4 people; and prevent another 6 people from going blind. They can also transform lives of a further 40 people through transplanting heart valves, tendon, ligaments, bone or blood vessels and in many cases lives are saved after severe burns by having donated skin grafts. Donation after death is an incredible gift.”

Despite a law change last year regarding consent for donation, the fact is that a family or a next of kin will always be consulted about organ donation.

Most families who don’t know the wishes of their loved ones will refuse donation whereas 9 in 10 families support organ donation going ahead if they knew what their loved one wanted.

You can record your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Jacqueline added: “One family said a light went on in the darkness when donation was discussed on the night they lost their loved one. Over several years, I have met with this family and they feel their loved one lives on with others as their donation has saved the lives of four adults and one infant. Knowing this family and seeing their pride in the life-saving organ donor they became, is so humbling. Being involved with donor families is most rewarding part of my job.”

COVID has reduced the number of people able to donate and the transplant waiting lists are on the increase as a result, so every donor is precious. The national campaign “leave them certain” hopes to get families and friends talking about donation and hopefully in turn increase the lives we save.

Jacqueline added: “It’s so important to raise awareness as we want everyone to make their own decisions about donation. The law changed in 2020, and people are considered to want donation if they have not registered an objection. That said, we would always discuss this with families to find out exactly what the last decision of the person was. If people have not discussed this with their loved ones, it makes things less certain at a difficult time. I would urge everyone to have a donation discussion with their nearest and dearest, so if the worst does happen you know what they would want you to do.

Although it can be difficult, it is important that when the time comes, you leave them certain.

Please have the donation discussion, visit organdonation.nhs.uk for more information around donation and transplants.

Keep an eye out for buildings lit up pink this week to mark Organ Donation week.

Head over and register your decision on the Organ Donation Register:

Register to donate Opt out of donation