Right now 14 patients in the Isle of Man are waiting for organ transplants. The more people who register to be donors, the greater the chances there are for these patients to live longer and more fulfilling lives. To promote awareness of this issue members of the Organ Donation Committee at Noble’s Hospital will be at both signing on events for the Manx Telecom Parish Walk. They will also be running a water station on the day of the race handing out bottles to walkers with details on labels about organ donation. Some committee members will be taking part in the walk to raise funds to create a memorial at Noble’s Hospital in memory of all those on the Island who have donated organs.
The committee is made up of co-ordinators from the UK, and staff from the Noble’s Hospital’s operating theatre, A&E and ICU departments, and mortuary staff. One of the committee members is Diane Taylor whose 15-year-old son Daniel died in a car accident in 2007. After Daniel’s parents agreed to allow his organs to be donated, four patients suffering serious illnesses received life-changing transplants.
Diane, who lives in St Judes and works in the Sales Department at Manx Telecom, set up a Facebook page called ‘Organ Donation Isle of Man – The Gift of Life’ which raises awareness of organ donation. She says: “Last year I took part in the Parish Walk with my best friend Shona Shade. We both walked in memory of our children [Diane’s son Daniel, and Shona’s daughter McKenzie] and also to raise awareness of organ donation in the Isle of Man. This year I will be working with the committee from Noble’s Hospital and there will be a team taking part in the Parish Walk. On the two signing-on nights we will be having a table with forms to sign up to the register and other promotional materials. There will also be a table at the checkpoint in Peel. Organ donation is a sensitive subject, but it’s important for people to discuss and understand what’s involved. And it can make a huge difference to the lives of those in need of transplants.”
From April 2009 to February 2014 a total of 17 patients on the Island received a life-saving organ transplants from a deceased donor. There are donor registers both here and in the UK. The greater the number there are who sign-up for these registers, then the greater the chances of organs being available which match the tissue-types of patients needing transplants.
But, in addition to encouraging more people to sign-up to organ donor registers, campaigners are also aiming to promote discussion of the subject so that bereaved families know the wishes of relatives. This is important as only a very small number of people die in circumstances where they are able to donate their organs. Usually organs come from people who are certified dead while on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit – and in cases such as this it is the relatives of the deceased who are asked by doctors to make a decision about whether their loved one would have wished their organs to be used for transplants.
For more information go to the ‘Organ Donation Isle of Man – The Gift of Life’ Facebook page, or www.organdonation.nhs.uk where you can join the NHS Organ Donor Register.