Newly appointed West Suffolk Hospital Organ Donation Committee hopes to raise awareness
- Credit: Archant
People in Suffolk are being urged to sign the organ donor register and make their wishes known to their family ahead of National Transplant Week.
The plea is being made by the newly appointed West Suffolk Hospital Organ Donation Committee chairman Robert Everitt, who was shocked to hear even those registered can have their wishes overturned by their next of kin.
Each day three people on average die in the UK while waiting for an organ to become available for their life-saving transplant.
More than four out of ten families refuse organs to be donated when their loved ones die, something St Edmundbury Borough Council cabinet member Mr Everitt is keen to see change.
“Even in the 21st Century it seems organ donation remains very much a taboo but it is one that needs breaking,” he said. “People are dying needlessly.”
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National Transplant Week runs from September 7, with former St Edmundsbury Mayor Mr Everitt hoping to raise awareness.
He said: “While I respect everyone’s religious or personal beliefs, I also think it is vital that we have these conversations at home so our wishes are known. Many people don’t realise that if they haven’t made their decision clear, their grieving family could be asked to agree to their donation taking place.
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“By being explicit in our wishes, we can spare our loved ones the additional heartache of having to make such an important decision at such a sombre moment.
“At West Suffolk Hospital, a dozen families said yes to their loved one donating their organs in 2014/15 – and that in turn led to 13 people receiving organ transplants.”
One donor can change the lives of up to nine people and save many of them from death.
Dr Jon Cardy, clinical lead for organ donation at the hospital, said: “2014/15 was our best year to date in terms of the numbers of local families that agreed to donation and the number of families that were consequently helped.
“I am absolutely delighted that Mr Everitt has agreed to lead our committee.”
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323