Caroline Lynch, Organ Donation Coordinator, and Dr Catherine Motherway, promoting Organ Donation Awareness Week
A MEDICAL expert at University Hospital Limerick is encouraging members of the public to register as organ donors, ahead of the annual Organ Donation Week.
Organ Donation Week, which takes place between March 30 and April 6, highlights the importance of being an organ donor and how it affects lives across the country.
To mark the week, An Post has teamed up with the HSE's Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI), and have issued a new stamp to highlight the importance of organ donation.
UHL's consultant physician in the intensive care unit, Dr Catherine Motherway is keen that more people carry a donor card.
“On occasion, and unfortunately for many families, they will lose their relative in our care. Sometimes it is our job to approach families about organ donation. So I would hope if you want to be a donor, that you talk to your family; let them know; sign a donor card; put it on your (driving) licence. Find a way of communicating that wish because these things happen suddenly.
"Life is uncertain and short. We do our utmost to help everybody who comes to the unit but for those people who we cannot save; if they would wish to be an organ donor, we would also like to honour that wish at the end of their life," she said.
The awareness week is being marked at UHL with an information stand on Tuesday and Thursday being run by Siobhan Brosnan, organ donation nurse manager.
Only a small proportion of patients who die in hospital will be suitable for donation, which makes it all-the-more important that people who wish to donate have had a full discussion with their families. In 2018 there were 81 deceased donors with a further 40 living donors of kidneys in Irish hospitals resulting in a total of 274 organ transplants.
Ms Brosnan, who has 18 years’ experience working in intensive care units at home and abroad, said: “One person can potentially help a maximum of seven other people to get life-saving operations. Not everybody will donate seven organs but the potential is there for seven.”
While people may carry an organ donation card or may have ticked the relevant box in their driving licence application, it is essential that they clarify their intentions with their next-of-kin around donation.
Ms Brosnan also said “We would especially appeal to those members of the public who are in the process of changing their UK driver’s licence to an Irish licence in view of Brexit to consider the section of the application form relating to Organ Donation and further discuss this with their next-of-kin”.
Prof Jim Egan, Director HSE, ODTI added “I’d like to thank An Post for the creation of this special stamp. It will create more public awareness about organ donation. It is only because of the generosity of the Irish public that patients can receive the life-saving treatment of an organ transplant. Our message is simple: Organ Donation Saves Lives.”
Designed by Zero-G, the stamp and first day cover feature an hourglass timer to represent the precious nature of time and the gift of life passing from one person to another throughorgan donation. When the stamp is scanned by a smart device with the Cee App installed, users will be redirected to the organ donation web page.
ODTI was established to provide governance, integration and leadership for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Ireland. The Office is dedicated to saving and improving lives by improving organ donation rates in Ireland.
Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050.