Heart transplant patient hopes changes to organ donor laws will save Suffolk lives
PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 27 February 2020
A Suffolk man whose life was saved following a heart transplant has said he hopes more lives will be saved in the county due to changes in organ donation laws.
Under the new Max and Keira's Law from May 20, all adults will have to opt out of the NHS Organ Donor Register unless they are a part of an excluded group.
The excluded groups include those under 18, those who lack mental capacity to understand the agreements, those who have lived in England for else than 12 months and those who are not living here voluntarily.
As of December 31 last year, 32 people in the county were waiting for a procedure, while more than 300,000 locally people were registered as of January 5 this year.
Among the Suffolk residents who have benefited from an organ transplant is Dominic Davies, 21, who knows first hand the struggle of waiting to find a donor.
Mr Davies said: "My heart transplant was the greatest gift I have ever received.
"It has given me a completely new life which I can live to its fullest, after years of being so unwell that I could barely walk a few steps without getting tired. I waited just over a year for my donor and the wait was physically and emotionally draining.
"The opt-in system is something which I very much stand behind, it will give more people a chance at getting their new life more quickly."
The law is named after the 12-year-old Max Johnson, who received the heart of young donor Keira Ball.
West Suffolk MP and health secretary Matt Hancock said he is "incredibly proud" of the new law and paid tribute to families such as Max and Keira's who have worked to see changes in legislation.
Claire Burbridge, specialist nurse in organ donation for Suffolk, added: "Organ donation is and will always be a precious gift. As nurses we work closely with families who agree to organ donation and for adults covered by the change in law this will remain the same.
"Whatever your decision around organ donation, we ask that you make your choice clear to your family and those closest to you to ensure your choice is honoured."
Both Wales and Jersey already have an opt out system, after changing their laws in December 2015 and July 2019 respectively. Scotland will also follow suit in Autumn 2020.