Only 31% of the country have signed up – have you? When asked the majority of people are in favour of their organs being used to help save someone else’s life so there is a gap between those who have and those that would.
In the last five years a dedicated group of nurses have been approaching bereaved families to discuss the possibility of organ donation, which must be one of the toughest jobs in the NHS to do. Thanks to them the amount of people who have signed up I the last five years has gone up by 50% – but it’s still not enough, around three people a day still die because there isn’t a donor.
Last year there was a campaign to make the donation of organs compulsory with an opt out system but the government didn’t see it through unfortunately. Both myself and Jill are on the donor list and we’ve also discussed the possibility of our kids becoming donors if something were to happen to them. The key is not just signing up, but discussing it with your friends and family to ensure they know your wishes so that there is no delay in helping someone else live in the event of your death. 125 families overturned the deceased wishes last year alone and the UK has one of the highest rates of refusal in Europe.
Carrying a Donor card is a start but here’s a quick guide to how to really make a difference:
1. Go to the organ donation website and sign up http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ it takes five minutes at most and is straightforward to complete
2. Let your family know your wishes and encourage them to sign up too – one of the biggest hurdles is when families are not informed of your wishes and this can delay things and cause additional grief at an already difficult time.
3. Encourage others to join you by sharing it on Social Networking sites – some people just haven’t thought about it so a nudge in the right direction always helps
For me the best way to look at organ donation is not from my side of being a donor, but considering if I or a loved one was in need of a donor. If I was faced with one of my kids or my wife needing an organ donation I would do anything I could to help them, I’m sure the majority of people reading this would. So why then would you refuse to become a donor or refuse any member of your family’s organs to another person? It might sound cold but those body parts are not going to do anything for your loved one, but up to nine people could benefit from them being a donor. To me it’s a simple equation – if one person can help or save up to nine others then it is simple decision.
I’m not saying it wouldn’t be difficult, because to give up any part of someone you care for must be heart wrenching, but consider the flip side and perhaps you’ll appreciate the situation of the 10,000 families a year who are sitting waiting for the chance to see their loved one get a second chance.
Sign up, speak up and share.