Families are being urged to make sure their loved ones know their wishes when it comes to organ donation.
Last year 70 people in Nottinghamshire had an organ transplant, but this number could potentially have been much higher if families of potential organ donors had known what their relative wanted.
This Organ Donation Week (4-10 September) Nottingham University Hospital’s Trust is launching a new campaign to encourage more people from a variety of backgrounds and in particular those from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, to not only sign the Organ Donor Register, but also to talk about their wishes with their family.
It is being supported by the families of four people whose organs were donated when they died.
Carol Donaldson, of Keyworth, gave permission for her 24-year-old son James’ organs to be donated when he was killed in a motorbike accident.
She said: “When the nurse came to talk to us about organ donation there was no hesitation. We wanted them to take whatever they could from our son for the good of someone else.
“It was an easy decision for us because we had talked about organ donation with James and we knew what he wanted.
“I would urge everyone to sign up to the Organ Donor Register, but also to make sure they let their loved ones know about their wishes.”
James’ face will be featured on posters and promotional material across the hospital, along with those of Marilyn Pattinson, Rob McGeever and Charlie Chevli, whose organs were all donated after their deaths.
Charlie was just seven when she suffered a cardiac arrest. Her father Bob said: “We were in a very strange position of trying to see beyond the bed of our stricken loved one, who we couldn’t save, to the beds of other people’s stricken loved ones who we could do something about.
“Charlie had a very kind nature and she wanted to help people. It was the right thing to do.”
NHS Blood and Transplant surveys show more than 80% of people support organ donation but only around 49% of people have ever talked about it, whilst national statistics from 2016/17 show that only 6% of organ donors were BME.
Dan Harvey, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at NUH, said: “Every day we see first-hand the amazing impact that organ donation can have on other people’s lives and I would urge everyone to consider joining the Organ Donor Register if they can. But it is also equally important to talk to your loved ones about your decision as it can save them much heartache at what is already an extremely difficult time.”
Lorraine Hogg, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, helps to support families who are faced with making the decision when a loved one dies. She said: “We find that it can give families great comfort to know that their relative has been able to help so many people and be a hero even after their death.”
To sign the Organ Donor Register go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.