In todays Daily Mail I read a very touching story of a little boy who received a life-saving heart transplant. It’s the best Xmas present they thought they would never have with Elliott. He survived using a mechanical heart for more than a year before receiving the transplant.
The three-year-old had spent most of his life in hospital before the operation in April. The family are grateful for the transplant and are now looking forward to sharing a wonderful festive season with their son. Read more:
Elliott Livingstone, three, who received a life-saving heart transplant (Family Handout/PA)
Jane Griffith from NHS Blood and Transplant explains what happens when you join the NHS organ donation register, which is a confidential database that holds information about an organ donor’s wishes.
She also explains what information may be shared with family, and how to withdraw your consent if you’ve changed your mind about being a donor. You can ring the organ donor line on 0300 123 2323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk for more information.
Organ Donation; How it Works
The NHS Organ Donation Register
The NHS Organ Donation Register is a confidential register where people are able to register their wishes to donate their organs and tissues after their death. They can specify on the Organ Donor Register which organs and tissues they do want to donate.
And when we discuss organ donation with the loved ones of the person who’s died, we give the families the option of which organs and tissues they would like their loved one to donate if their loved one’s wishes are not specifically known at that point.
We make sure the family understand those tests will be undertaken. If you change your mind, then, of course, you can remove your name from that register at any point.
The most important thing, whether someone registered on the Organ Donor Register or carries a donor card, is that also they make it clear to their family that they want to be a donor. Therefore, if there’s been a conversation between a patient and their family making it clear that they want to donate, then their family should be able to see that through for them.
The majority of organ transplants are carried out following patients who donate organs after their death. However, it is possible for some organs to be donated by people who are still living. There are a number of patients who receive kidney transplants.
It’s also possible, in a very small and rare number of cases, for somebody to donate part of their liver. All potential organ donors are screened for transmissible diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. At the time that we discuss organ donation with the family of the person who’s died, we make sure the family understand those tests will be undertaken.
NHS Blood and Transplant
Their name and details will only be used by NHS Blood and Transplant, and other healthcare professionals that are relevant to donation. Their details won’t be shared with any other organisations. We maintain the confidentiality of both the donor, their family,and the recipients.Until such time, if ever, that both parties would want to share information with each other.
There will always be a discussion had with their family at the time of their death to ensure their family understand what the deceased’s wishes were and to satisfy those wishes.The most important thing, whether someone registered on the Organ Donor Register or carries a donor card is that they make clear to their family that they want to be a donor.
Whether somebody registers their wish to be an organ donor after their death or not, the doctors and nurses caring for you in the hospital will always do their utmost to save your life and to ensure a dignified death.
The operation is carried out in the hospital in which the person has died. It’s carried out in the operating theatre under sterile conditions,as every other surgical procedure is carried out.
Every effort is made to maintain dignity and respect for the person who’s died. Following an organ donation operation, there is no reason for loved ones, relatives, friends not to come and see the patient who’s died and view the body.
If somebody wishes to be a donor after their death, and the family give their consent or authorisation to donation, the funeral will not be delayed. The costs associated with organ donation are borne by the NHS, both in terms of the retrieval operation and the transplantation. So there are no costs to the family.