BY TOBY PORTER
New figures reveal there were 40 lifesaving deceased organ donors at St George’s last year, helping the UK reach its highest ever number of donors.
As a result of these donations, 97 people received a life-saving transplant.
St George’s is one of 29 UK centres which carries-out organ transplants. In 2018/19, the Trust performed 158 kidney transplants – the highest in a year.
NHS Blood and Transplant released the figures to mark the publication of the annual Transplant Activity Report.
The report reveals there is growing support for organ donation around the country.
Nationally, there was a record number of organ donors, with 1,600 people saving lives through deceased organ donation over the past year.
However, the report also shows that across the UK, fewer people died in circumstances where they were able to donate their organs – 225 fewer than in 2017/18.
This means it is more important than ever that every person who wants and is able to donate their organs after death is given the opportunity to do so.
The Patel family are encouraging others to talk about organ donation.
Following an accident at home in 2016, Jay and Sina Patel’s son, Aari (pictured above), three, passed away after spending four days in the care of St George’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
They made the instant decision to donate as many of their son’s organs as possible.
Jay said: “If Aari couldn’t be helped any further, Sina and I felt strongly that we wanted Aari to help others. We did not want another family to suffer losing their child or loved one.
“Aari donated seven organs and saved the lives of two other children. We received a letter from the family of his heart recipient and they are doing well.
We remain proud of our decision and encourage everyone to have a discussion with those they love about organ donation, it truly helps save lives.”
Jo Cox, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at St George’s, supported the Patel family through their donation journey, and understands the incredible generosity of donor families, who think of others at a time of tragic loss.
Jo said: “Organ donation is an incredibly generous act by the donor and their families.
At St George’s, we embrace donation as a routine part of end life care when appropriate, ensuring all families have the opportunity to donate, and supporting them consistently throughout the process.
“While the change in law will help to raise awareness of organ donation, we must continue encouraging people to have open and honest discussions about their end of life wishes.
We are a nation of people who don’t like talking about death – but it is essential that we have these conversations and empower our loved ones to make decisions on our behalf.”
From spring 2020, the law around organ and tissue donation in England is changing.
All adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.
Organ donation is a most precious gift and adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to our dedicated colleagues at St George’s Hospital and all the courageous donors and their families they worked with us to support and who helped us to save so many lives last year.
Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their relative’s final act to be saving lives through organ donation.
No lifesaving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation.
“With the law around organ donation changing in England from next spring, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”
Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.