Real stories prompt families to consider organ donation

03/05/2019

Real stories prompt families to consider organ donation

The inspirational stories of David, Elvis, Marie and Sheila, who saved multiple lives through organ donation after their deaths, are now on display at Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital.
 
Working with the families of donors and NHS Blood and Transplant, The Western Heath and Social Care Trust (Western Trust), has installed the storyboards in the area outside the Intensive Care Units at both hospitals.  Pictures and quotes tell the moving stories of people who have died in the hospital, despite the best efforts of the hospital team to save them. Their subsequent deaths have gone on to transform the lives of others through organ donation.
 
It is hoped the stories will inspire other families who find themselves in the Intensive Care Unit, potentially facing the loss of a loved one. They illustrate the comfort and feeling of pride that organ donation brought to families when their loved one died.
 
Elaine Doherty from Derry has also shared her experience as an organ recipient to make families aware of the huge impact that organ donation can have on someone receiving an organ.
 
Dr Declan Grace, Western Trust, Organ Donation Lead, said:    “It can be very difficult for families when their next of kin is critically ill. Although most patients recover, some patients do not despite the best efforts of our doctors and nurses.  Some of these patients can potentially donate their organs after their death.
 
“We understand that organ donation is often something families have not previously discussed and we hope that being able to see the stories of others who have been through a similar situation will help families to consider whether it’s the right thing for them to do, if the situation arises.  We’d like to thank the families involved in this initiative for sharing their loved one’s stories with us and we hope they will inspire many others in future to save lives. They will help other families in a very difficult situation to see the pride and comfort donation can bring.”

Right now there are around 6,000 people across the UK are waiting for a transplant, approximately 150 of these people are from Northern Ireland. On average three people die every day because of a shortage of organ donors.   If someone dies in circumstances where they can donate their organs, their family would be approached about organ donation.
 
This can be something the family have never discussed. So, both NHS Blood and Transplant and the Western Trust want to encourage families living in the Western Trust area to talk openly about organ donation.  If you want to be an organ donor tell your family that you want to save lives and you want them to support this decision, and ask members of your family whether they want to be donors too.
 
You can help save live by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.