HSE Press Release, Saturday, 09 October 2021
Today (Saturday, 9th October), is European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation (EODD), a special day dedicated to promoting awareness of organ donation and honouring all organ donors and their families. It is also an opportunity to thank transplantation professionals throughout Europe whose hard work helps to save lives and improve the quality of life of many people.
Edel Cashman is from Carrigtwohill, County Cork and received a liver transplant in recent years. For Edel her transplant has been life changing as she explains “People say it’s the gift of life but it’s kind of almost become a cliché, but it literally is the gift of new life. And it’s just so important for people to talk about organ donation because it’s not something I would have given two thoughts to before it became my life.”
On behalf of HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI), Dr Catherine Motherway, Intensive Care Consultant in University Hospital Limerick and HSE Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, said, “If you would like your organs to be donated in the event of your death, please let your family know your wishes. Talk to them, carry a donor card. It is so important for them to know what you would have wanted. Making decisions at a time of great grief and in the face of a sudden loss is incredibly hard. Knowing what you would want will help them. The act of donation can truly help families in their loss, and is a most precious gift for our transplant patients. Transplantation saves and changes lives.
Thanking the thousands of donors and their families that have given the gift of life to many more thousands of very sick people over the years in Ireland, Dr Motherway added; “Today, I and my colleagues remember in particular our much loved colleague Siobhán Brosnan Shanahan, Organ Donation Nurse Manager at Limerick University Hospital, who lost her life unexpectedly in a road traffic accident earlier this year. Siobhán worked tirelessly with families during their time of immense grief and sadness to support them through their decision to donate the organs of their loved ones. She truly believed in the act of donation, most especially in the comfort it gave to the donor family. True to her principles, she saved lives by donating her organs. We are immensely grateful to Siobhán’s husband Patrick and family, and continue to hold her memory close to our hearts.”
Last year in Ireland, 190 organ transplants were carried out. 123 kidney transplants were performed at the National Renal Transplant Service at Beaumont Hospital, 28 of which living donor transplants. 37 liver transplants happened at the National Liver Transplant Service at St Vincent’s University Hospital, and 16 lung transplants and 9 heart transplants took place in the National Heart Lung Transplant Service at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.
Demand for organ transplantation is increasing all over the world, but there are not enough organs available to meet the need. This shortage of organs is now the limiting factor in treating many patients with chronic organ failure and has led to high numbers of patients on waiting lists.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted donation and transplantation programmes globally. Consequently there is a large unmet need for life saving transplant surgery. Currently there are 650 families in Ireland waiting for transplant surgery. Last year 35,529 organ transplants were performed in Europe, while 43,183 new patients were added to existing waiting lists. Organ donation is a limiting factor in saving the lives of patients with severe organ failure. Please have the conversation because organ donation saves lives.
For more information on organ donation in Ireland see www.hse.ie/organ-donation and join the conversation on social #OrganDonationSavesLives #OrganDonationAwareness #HaveThatConversation
Issued by HSE National Press Office
Spokespersons available for interview:
Dr Catherine Motherway Intensive Care Consultant in University Hospital Limerick and HSE Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, see video here.
Edel Cashman, liver transplant recipient from Cork, see video here.
Please see full HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland video playlist here
For more information on European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation, visit https://www.edqm.eu/en/european-day-organ-donation-and-transplantation-9-october-2021
Last updated on: 08 / 10 / 2021