CHARLES GRAHAM: Give those in need a chance

Sam Thorpe was told that at best she could expect to survive another six years when both of her kidneys failed.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 2:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 3:12 pm
Sam Thorpe

With other organs beginning to flag after decades of battling type one diabetes, her only chance of salvation lay in a double transplant.

Mercifully, less than a year after her name was put on the register, a suitable donor was found and she underwent complex surgery not only to replace her kidneys but also her pancreas.

That was in 2015 and since then the Standish 42-year-old has enjoyed a whole new lease of life.

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Little wonder she was more than happy to back our current promotion of National Organ Donation Week, encouraging people to put their names down on the register.

As of next spring England will fall into line with several other countries by adopting an “opt out” system which means that all adults will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

The Government has said it hopes that this will save up to 700 extra lives a year.

But when it was first introduced in Wales a few years back, there was no discernible improvement in the number of donations, which had experts scratching their heads.

The short of it is that, whatever system prevails - and the old one of having to signal your willingness to donate posthumously remains for now - it is still incumbent on us as future donors or the family of future donors to make it as easy as possible.

I would be quite happy for doctors to cannibalise any spare parts from me once I have no further need for them - assuming they are worth salvaging - and I would hope many other people would feel the same.

I have lost count of the number of grieving families I have interviewed over the years who have been given great comfort by the knowledge that their departed loved one has gone on to save or improve other people’s lives.