Date of release: 20 September 2021
Wolverhampton and Walsall families are being urged to have open and honest conversations with their friends and loved ones about organ donation – ensuring we “leave them certain” about the decision to be an organ and tissue donor, to help save and improve more lives.
Organ Donation Week takes place from 20th-26th September this year. The focus is “leave them certain” which encourages us all to discuss this important topic.
The law around organ donation changed in May 2020 – to an opt-out system – but organ donation remains our choice and families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead. Sadly, opportunities for transplants are missed every year because families aren't sure what to do without that person’s decision recorded on the organ donation register.
Families can also override the person’s decision, and clinicians will never proceed with organ donation if they object, so here at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, we are asking that you talk with those closest to you about your position on organ donation. That way, if they are ever involved in discussions about organ donation, they will be confident on meeting your wishes and supported to make a decision at an already difficult time.
Natalie Myatt, Specialist Nurse Organ Donation for Midlands Organ Donation and Transplantation Services, explained: “The circumstances where donation is possible usually see patients involved in sudden trauma and / or with catastrophic brain injuries and their organs are being supported on a ventilator in Intensive Care.
“The patient also has to meet certain criteria where their organs are determined as healthy, so unfortunately patients with certain health conditions are ruled out.
“Only around one per cent of people die in circumstances where they can donate so every eligible donor is extremely precious. It is really important you discuss your decision regarding organ donation with your loved ones so that they can be sure on what you would want. This action could save and improve up to nine lives and we want to ensure no opportunity is wasted.”
This year, due to ongoing safety restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trusts’ Organ Donation team have had to find some creative ways to mark the occasion. This includes lighting the Emergency Department (ED) at New Cross Hospital pink, the colour of organ donation, while a stand with information leaflets has been set up at the ED entrance to bring attention to the cause.
We will also be taking a closer look at the speciality by sharing articles on our website and social media pages, including ‘a day in the life of a Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation’. While former Wolverhampton Wanderers footballer Kevin McDonald will be sharing his story on what it means to receive a kidney and be given a new chance at life.
David Loughton, Chief Executive of RWT and interim Chief Executive at WHT said: “We are committed to supporting the services of NHS Blood and Transplant and saving or enhancing lives where we can.
“While neither Trust is a transplant centre, the regional Organ Donation Team perform vital work when it comes to the retrieval of organs from suitable patients and the coordination of where they need to go across the country.
“We have a team of dedicated nurses, consultants and support staff tasked with ensuring every opportunity for organ donation is taken up sensitively in patients who reach the end of their lives. The staff continued to do this throughout the pandemic and I thank them for their commitment and dedication.”
So this Organ Donation Week, make your decision known by telling your loved ones and record it on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
If you want to learn more, look out on the Trusts’ websites this week for our first ever podcast where members of the Midlands team will be answering a number of frequently asked questions. Visit www.royalwolverhampton.nhs.uk to listen in.