24th December 2020
Approximately 500 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Ireland. This includes patients on dialysis awaiting kidney transplants and patients waiting for lung, heart and liver transplants. While some kidney donations can take place through the living donation programme, all other organ donations can only proceed when another life is lost.
Share your wishes on organ donation
The HSE’s ODTI (Organ Donation Transplant Ireland) are asking people to share their views and wishes on organ donation with their families and friends over Christmas and in the New Year.
Cork native Edel Cashman was the recipient of a liver transplant in 2018. She had been diagnosed with an auto immune liver disease at nine years old and for the next decade of her life she had to adapt to her condition. However, in 2016 she became very unwell and for the next “22 months” she waited anxiously until finally in October 2018 she became the recipient of a liver transplant. She tells her own story:
Dr Catherine Motherway, Intensive Care Consultant in University Hospital Limerick and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation explains that organ donation is among the greatest gifts we can give to another: “Having that conversation and letting family members know our views and wishes on organ donation is really important. The priority for all of us who work in intensive care is to save lives. However, sadly at times this is not always possible. As part of end of life care when appropriate we offer families the opportunity for their relative to donate organs.
“In such circumstances we approach families to ask if their loved one would have wanted to donate organs. When faced with sudden loss and grief we know that for families who have had that conversation and have talked about organ donation the decision making can be easier and less daunting when they know what their relative would have wanted. It can bring great comfort to a family that we in the intensive care and transplant community can honour their loved ones wishes to become an organ donor and transform someone else’s life. We are constantly humbled working with families of our donors who in the midst of tragedy find the strength to help others in need. They have our deepest gratitude and sympathy.”
Have that conversation
ODTI and their extended team, remain committed to increasing organ donations and transplants and urge all, to have that conversation about donation and make their wishes known. Having the conversation ensures wherever possible the loss of one precious life can be turned to benefit many others through donation.