Thursday, 15 August 2013

Record Transplants in UK

A record number of organ transplants took place in 2012, the BBC reports. The increase of 6% on the previous year is largely attributed to an increase in the number of registered donors, which suggests that the limiting factor on transplants was indeed donations, rather than space in operating theatres. Of course, a dramatic increase in the number of donors may see some other factor, such as space in operating theatres, become the new limiting factor. But, for now, it seems that our focus should be on increasing decisions to donate, whether from individuals or their families.

Monday, 12 August 2013

'Dad has gone from Sick to Superman'

Organ donation doesn't simply save lives, in the sense of keeping people (barely) alive, but it allows them to lead much fuller, more normal lives, as this inspiring story of a father swimming from Alcatraz to shore to celebrate five years since his double lung transplant shows. It's a great example of how much of a difference a transplant can make to the recipient's quality of life, but also comes with important reminders about the limits of what transplants can achieve "The current average survival period of a lung recipient in the US and Europe is five years. Statistics say that the current 10-year survival rate of a lung transplant patient is 30%, meaning that only one out of every three patients will celebrate their 10th anniversary". Still, even five more years of healthy life is a considerable achievement, and especially valuable for someone like Gavin Maitland with young children.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Holby City Controversy

I don't watch Holby City, but it seems that a current story about organ donation has generated some bad publicity, after breaching several guidelines, including a donation proceeding after the withdrawal of consent. According to this BBC article, "This is an ongoing story and in the weeks to come viewers will see the main character Mo face up to the fallout of her actions".

Given that relatives of donors often report some comfort (from knowing good came out of their personal tragedy), while those who refuse consent often report regret, I hope viewers see some of this in the later storyline.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Organ Donation Debated on Ciao!

The opt-in/opt-out issue has been selected as 'current debate' (for the latter half of July, so now over) on consumer review/opinion site Ciao. See the entries here. I'm pleased to see that most appear to be in favour - though on closer inspection some are only really in favour of organ donation and are sceptical of opt-out.