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Donors' gift to living: how Hillingdon tackles sensitive subject
IF you want to help people after you have died, why not become an organ donor.
Donor figures have more than doubled since a national task force was introduced six years ago, but three people still die every day waiting for a transplant.
Specialist nurse Claire Dua is responsible for identifying potential donors who have been admitted with traumatic injuries to the A&E and intensive care units at Hillingdon Hospital.
Most are unlikely to regain consciousness and Claire chooses the appropriate time to raise the possibility of donation with loved ones.
She said: ““People generally agree because they can see something positive coming out of the death of a loved one. It often comforts them at a difficult time.”
Consent is followed by a flurry of activity as the donor is matched with a recipient via a national data base, a surgical team dispatched to remove the organ(s) and emergency transport arranged.
The time frame for moving organs between bodies can be as little as four hours for heart and lungs, with surgical teams on standby at both ends.
A single donor can potentially help up to nine people with heart, lungs, kidneys, small bowel and pancreas, tissue donations, corneas, skin, bones, tendon and even heart valves.
There were 760 organ transplants in the UK last year, which was dwarfed by a waiting list of nearly 2,000 people.
At present, there are more than 20 million card carriers in the UK and Claire is quick to dispel some of the myths around donation.
Claire added: “People think you have to be a perfect physical specimen which isn’t true. You can donate up to the age of 85 and, just because you smoke or drink in moderation, it doesn’t exclude you.”
Hillingdon Hospital is looking for more people to carry donor cards as part of Organ Donation Week and will be promoting the service through an information stand in the main foyer between 10am-2pm this coming Tuesday (July 8).
Visit the stall or go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk