I’ve had my mortality pricked.
A dear friend recently lost her father and his living wish was for his body left to medical science, but unfortunately, because all the necessary paperwork hadn’t been completed, it wasn’t able to happen.
Consequently, I’ve found myself in a somewhat pensive state, questioning life, the universe and everything, with particular reference to what ‘I’ would like to happen in the untimely event of my early demise…not that I’m planning on going anywhere, anytime soon; I’ve far too much work to do on Mother Earth.
But clearly, our most intimate wishes for post-mortal coil need to be communicated with the ones we love, all relevant authorities, they need to be witnessed, documented, signed, sealed and delivered.
I started carrying an organ donor card many years ago. It’s kicking around in my bag somewhere…I’m sure it is…at least I think it is.
I’ve told my family what I’d like to happen. Before now, I guess I thought that would be enough…
I saw an advert on the telly today for the NHS Organ Donor scheme and was prompted to have a quick look at the website. It seems you have to register your intent and it took me all of 3 minutes to fill in the boxes and officially declare my long term wishes.
After joining, I added my photograph to The Wall of Life and spent a little time perusing some of the other potential donors.
Being faced with passing away before your expected sell-by date is one of those things you hope you’ll never have to deal with..but what if you do…what would you do…more to the point, what do you want to happen afterwards?
Simply put, transplants save lives.
In the UK between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009:
- 3,513 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 1,854 donors.
- 977 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney, liver/pancreas, heart/kidney or liver/kidney/pancreas transplant.
- A total of 2,536 patients received a kidney, pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
- A further 2,711 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant.
- A record number of donors were living donors, 954 people donated a kidney or a segment of their liver or lung, representing more than half of all donors.
- The highest number of non-heartbeating donor transplants took place- 579 transplants, a 35% increase on 2007-2008.
- Living donor kidney transplants are increasing – 589 in 2005-2006, 690 in 2006-2007, 831 in 2007-2008 and 927 in 2008-2009 and now represent more than one in three of all kidney transplants.
- At the end of March 2009, 7,877 patients were listed as actively waiting for a transplant.
- Almost a million more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, bringing the total at 31 March 2009 to 16,124,871.
(Comprehensive data for the period 2007-2008 is available in the PDF report Transplant Activity 2007-2008.)
If you’d like to donate some, or all of your life and sight giving organs, please visit www.OrganDonation.nhs.uk