In The News

Families still blocking organ donations

Families still blocking organ donations

IT HAS been revealed that as many as four in ten families are refusing to allow organs from loved ones, who have passed away and who had registered as donors, to be used for transplants.

The figures have been released after the NHS said the U.K. is still lagging behind other countries in the number of transplant operations being carried out each year.

NHS Blood and Transplant said 4,655 transplants were carried out across the  country in 2013-14. This represents a 10% rise on the previous year but it still well short of being able to help all those people who require life-saving transplants.

Sally Johnson from NHS Blood and Transplant said the issue of families blocking the use of organs must be addressed. She added: “Family refusal is our biggest problem and it’s sad we lag behind some other countries in terms of consent.

“We understand that families often have to consider donation in their darkest hour. So rather than wait for that moment, please ask yourself now whether you think it is right to accept people dying in need of a transplant in the UK? If we would accept an organ for ourselves, or would want someone we love to be saved by a transplant, shouldn’t we be willing to donate too?”

A major effort is continuing in Northern Ireland to encourage people to join the organ donor register.

It is hoped the Speak Up and Save a Life campaign, which has been running as part of an initiative from the Public Health Agency (P.H.A.), will help encourage more potential donors to come forward.

Figures released by health officials show that just 31% of the local population have already registered despite a public attitudes survey finding that 84% support the concept. 

The survey, which was carried out by the P.H.A. in 2013, also found that a majority of people would take an organ if they needed one.

Around 200 people are currently on the transplant waiting list in Northern Ireland but as many as 15 people die each year before an organ can be found to save them.

Speaking at the start of the Speak Up and Save a Life campaign, Dr. Eddie Rooney, chief executive of the P.H.A., said: “Organ donation really is the gift of life. The generosity of donors and their families enhances or saves the lives of recipients across Northern Ireland.” 

He added: “We want to increase awareness of the organ donor register and how to sign up and we also want to encourage people to talk about organ donation with family and close friends so they are aware of their wishes.”

A new website was set up (see below) to offer a wide range of information.

The fact that so few people have already signed-up to the organ donor register has led some to call for a statutory opt-out to be introduced. This would mean that everyone would be considered as donors unless they asked for their names to be removed from the register. 

Health Minister Edwin Poots did not ruled out going down this route but will re-test public opinion after the latest awareness campaign is concluded. He said recently: “I once again urge everyone to consider signing the organ donation register and having made such a decision to discuss their wishes with their families and loved ones.”

Joining the donor organ register could not be easier. To register online click here, or you can download a form to complete you registration by post (click here). If you want to talk to someone about joining then contact the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 33. This service is available 24 hours a day.

To visit the Northern Ireland Organ Donation website, click here.

To visit the Northern Ireland Transplant Association’s website, click here.

View previous In the News items: Footballing legent Alfredo Di Stefano passes away, Donating remains for medical education, Tributes are paid to jazz musician Paul Horn, More people are urged to make funeral plans, Tributes are paid to soul legend Bobby Womack, MBE for inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton, Actress and activist Ruby Dee passes away, Author Eric Hill passes away, Tributes are paid to Rik Mayall, Funeral takes place of Sir John Gorman, Former film star Mona Freeman passes away, Actress Ann B Davis passes away, Judges rule on remains of King Richard III, Smithfield legend Joe Kavanagh passes away, Singer Jerry Vale passes away, Comedian Eli Woods passes away, Shankill pays tribute to Hugh Smyth, Inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton passes away, Colourful funeral for brave Oscar Knox, Scientist Colin Pillinger passes away, Former boxing champion Jimmy Ellis passes away, Tributes are paid to Elena Baltacha, Paul Robeson Junior passes away, Tributes are paid to former footballer Sandy Jardine, Headstones are damaged at a Belfast cemetery, Tributes are paid to popular politician, Generous response in wake of marathon tragedy, Tributes are paid to actress Edna Dore, Private funeral is planned for Mickey Rooney, Country musician Arthur Smith passes away, Comedy writer Bob Larbey passes away, Surfing pioneer Hobie Alter passes away, Writer Sam McAughtry passes away, Internet sensation Peter Oakley passes away, Tributes are paid to actor James Rebhorn, Funeral takes place of James Ellis, Vandals damage graves in Newry, Voice actor Hal Douglas passes away, Belfast mourns passing of James Ellis, Actress Sheila MacRae passes away, Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland passes away, Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia passes away, Tributes are paid to Maria von Trapp, Actor Malcolm Tierney passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Christopher Malcolm, Actor Ken Jones passes away, Waltons actor Ralph Waite passes away, Tributes are paid to veteran comedian Sid Caesar, Former actress Shirley Temple passes away, Funeral takes place of Belfast actress Leila Webster, Songwriter Anna Gordy Gaye passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Maximilian Schell, Actor Eric Lawson passes away, Tributes are paid to Pete Seeger, Slight rise in number of deaths in Northern Ireland or Stargazer John Dobson passes away

If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.