Organ Donation

This week, an uplifting story on the news regarding organ donation caught my eye. A young 13 year old girl’s organs have been transplanted into eight different people, 5 of which were children.

As an organ donor myself, I understand the importance of the process and how many lives can be saved via donation, however the UK still has an ‘opt-in’ system. Thus, unless you register, your organs will not be donated after your death. 24 other European countries have an ‘opt-out’ system, [2] meaning everyone is on the organ donor register unless they choose to remove themselves from this list. In our modern day healthcare system I think this is a much more beneficial scheme, due to organ demand and the sheer number of people who are indifferent to the process.

Jemima Layzell died suddenly due to a brain aneurysm, and after her death donated her heart, small bowel, pancreas, kidneys, liver and lungs [1]. 8 is a remarkable number of organs for one person to donate, with the average only being around 2/3. Something many people don’t realise is how many people die waiting for a transplant, last year a staggering 457, as families said no to organ donation.

So why this blog post? Not only is Jemima Layzell’s story an incredible one, it also brings with it a few key messages. The first, opt in. The UK does not automatically register everyone on the organ donor register, so please take the time to. For me, it came through when I applied for my provisional driving licence. The second, inform your family. If you want to be a donor, tell them. Let them know of your wishes as they have the opportunity to dispute them after your death. It is an incredibly important process which can save thousands of lives each year.

 

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41187008

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_donation

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