Vital Transplant Organs are Wasted
Embargoed Until: 12.01am on 15th June 2010
The debate “Organ Donation: at what cost?” organised by the Human Tissue Authority at The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL at 2pm on Tuesday 15th June 2010.
National Kidney Federation Chief Executive, Tim Statham informed a meeting of the Human Tissue Authority today that nearly 800 Kidney Organs were being wasted every day, when many could have saved lives if they had been used for Transplants.
The organs had belonged to men and women who before death had signed up to the Organ Donor Register expecting them to be used to save life. Of the 25,000 Kidney Patients on Dialysis in the UK, 3,000 die every year, 400 of whom die whilst waiting on the Kidney Transplant waiting list. The Kidney Transplant List is currently 7,000 strong and yet only 7 transplant operations are carried out each day.
Every day In the UK, it is normal for 1,500 people to die, 400 of those are known to have signed up to the Organ Donor Register. Because each person has two kidneys, that is 800 potential life saving kidneys available every day, yet only 7 operations are carried out. If the NHS could manage 7 more operations a day then the waiting list could be eliminated within three years, but it does not happen and patients continue to languish on Dialysis, or die. The people who choose in life to sign up to the register want to save lives, they do not expect that their organs will be cremated or buried.
Not everyone makes a suitable donor, and not everyone dies in circumstances where organ donation is possible, but kidney patients only need 7 more operations each day out of the possible 800 a day that become available.
Despite the report published by the Organ Donation Taskforce, and the many improvements to the existing system they propose, the NHS is organised in such a way that people will only be considered as possible donors if they happen to die in Hospital, despite their declared wish during life to be a donor after their death. The majority of deaths do not occur in hospital and that is why there is such an appalling wastage of organs. It is why there is a denial of the deceased’s wishes before death, and it is why so many Kidney Patients continue to die whilst on Dialysis.
It is time that the government and the NHS asked where and how people die, and then considered in what circumstances GPs, institutions, and other organisations, were likely to be aware of these impending deaths, and of those person’s wishes about organ donation? There is need for a complete re-think and then re-organisation of parts of the NHS transplantation services. The new service must recognise that donors die outside the hospital environment, and then build in the capability to ensure a proactive and fast moving “community aware” service that can efficiently bring to the hospital the donor, or the protected organs in sufficient numbers to put an end to the appalling waste of human life, and the utter disregard of potential donor’s wishes. “After all, someone who has taken the trouble and care to sign up to the Organ Donation Register, should not be expected to have to die in the arms of a Transplant Surgeon with a donor card clutched in their teeth”.
Notes to Editors