How organ donation saves lives
7 September 2015
The Royal Free Hospital has created a moving film for National Transplant Week, which starts today, to encourage people to sign the organ donor register.
The Royal Free Hospital is one of the largest centres for kidney and liver transplants in the UK, carrying out more than 200 such operations a year. But there are not enough organs for those who need them and every day three people in the UK die while waiting for a transplant.
You can watch the film here:
The film features three people who have personal experience of organ donation talking about how their lives were affected by transplantation.
Sarah Fowlds had a liver transplant at the Royal Free Hospital 15 years ago. When her liver suddenly started to fail, her doctors told her she had weeks to live unless a donor organ was found. Luckily, a suitable liver did become available and she is still fit and healthy – thanks to the generosity of a stranger and their family who gave consent for organ donation.
Roz Heffer, whose husband Tom died at the Royal Free Hospital three years ago, also features in the film. When Tom died after a heart attack, she agreed his organs could be used to help other people live. Knowing Tom had helped other people in this way has been a huge comfort to Roz and her daughter Abigail.
Paul Bragg’s kidneys starting failing two years ago. Earlier this year Paul was told he would need a transplant, but there was a three and a half year wait for a kidney. In the meantime, Paul would have needed dialysis sessions three times a week to keep him alive. However, his brother Martin was a match and donated a kidney to Paul. Both of them are making good recoveries following their operations.
The film not only encourages people to think about signing the organ donor register but to talk about that decision with their families.
Natalie Akenzua, a specialist nurse for organ donation at the Royal Free London, says that as well as signing the register it is crucial to have a conversation about it with your loved ones.
“Organ donation is a difficult decision but it means that when you die, you have the chance to give someone else an incredible gift,” she said. “Talking this over with your family now ensures they are aware of your wish to donate your organs and makes their decision a lot easier to live with when they are trying to deal with their loss.”
You can sign up to the organ donor register here.
Notes to editors
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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.
In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.
For further information, visit www.royalfree.nhs.uk