Appeal as six die waiting for organ donor in Hartlepool – with 13 more still on transplant waiting list

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director for organ donation for the UK
Anthony Clarkson, assistant director for organ donation for the UK

Six people from Hartlepool have died in the last decade while waiting for organ transplants and 13 more are waiting for a life changing operation.

The figures emerged as transplant chiefs urged people to get involved in organdonation - and let their families know their post death wishes.

Organ donation box arriving at hospital for transplant operation.

Organ donation box arriving at hospital for transplant operation.

NHS Blood and Transplant revealed the tragic numbers to mark Organ Donation Week which starts today.

They are urging people to tell their families they want to become donors in a bid to save and change lives.

Officials say a reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Hartlepool waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference.

“It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.

“If you want to save lives, don’t leave it too late to talk to your family.”

Last year, eight people Hartlepool transplant patients had lifesaving or life-improving transplants thanks to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

There has been a steady increase in the number of people in the joining the register in just the last five years to reach 34,162.

But the service says hundreds of life saving transplants are still being missed every year because families are not aware of the wishes of their relatives.

If you want to be a donor your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.

Mr Clarkson added: “If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family; what would you do if one of you needed a transplant?

“Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”

Surveys by the NHS Blood and Transplant show that more than 80% of people support organ donation but only around 49% of people have ever talked about it.

Research shows that women are 30% more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.

To support Organ Donation Week visit http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk