Waiting on the transplant list

Organ donors urged to come forward and register.

Twelve people in East Devon are waiting for life-saving organ transplants, it has been revealed.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust made public the figure as National Transplant Week was launched.

The trust, which manages all hospitals in East Devon, is now urging people to sign the Organ Donor Register - and to make sure they pass on their donation wishes to family members.

Every individual, it says, could save seven lives through organ donation and restore the sight of two people.

But not every person on the register can help, because they have not told loved ones about their wishes.

Sarah Rundle, the trust’s specialist nurse in organ donation, said: “This year’s National Transplant Week focuses around the message ‘Pass it On’.

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“The importance of passing on your wishes and letting your significant others know about your decision to save lives after your death is often overlooked.

“The Organ Donor Register allows people to express their wishes, yet it is our families who will discuss this with the doctors and nurses when faced with the traumatic loss of a loved one.

“Does your family know your wishes?”

Nationally, there are over 7,500 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, but every day three will die while waiting for a suitable donor.

There are 12 people in East Devon currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and others who are too ill to undertake a transplant operation, having been on the waiting list for too long.

Sarah said: “Very few of us would decline an organ if we needed a life-saving transplant, but only 28 per cent of the UK population has registered on the Organ Donor Register.

“So perhaps you should ask yourself: ‘Is it not time I signed up to this amazing national initiative?’

“Signing up is not a guarantee your organs will be donated if you die, as registration is not a contract or part of your will.

“Only half of those registered ever discuss their wishes with immediate family or guardians and, as a result, loved ones may be asked to make what seems to be an impossible decision, adding to their anguish at the time of your death.

“So, please, ensure your incredibly generous gift is delivered.”

l To add your name to the register, call 0300 123 2323, text REGISTER to 84880 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk