'It's so important to have the conversation': 250 organ donations in 2022

“At the end of each year, those of us who work in organ donation and transplantation wish to acknowledge our donors, both living and deceased.”
'It's so important to have the conversation': 250 organ donations in 2022

Dr Catherine Motherway, Clinical Lead, HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland spoke about the profound impact that organ donation has on both recipients and donor families.

AS new figures released by the HSE show 250 organ donations took place in Ireland this year, one Cork recipient has described it as ‘the gift of life’ and asked people to have a conversation about organ donation with their families

The HSE’s Organ Donation Transplant Ireland Office has said that donations were made possible thanks to the selflessness of 86 deceased and 33 living organ donors and their families. Across the three national transplant centres, 163 kidney, 10 heart, 18 lung, 51 liver, and eight pancreas transplants were completed. This includes kidney transplants from the 33 living donors.

Dr Catherine Motherway, Clinical Lead, HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland spoke about the profound impact that organ donation has on both recipients and donor families.

“At the end of each year, those of us who work in organ donation and transplantation wish to acknowledge our donors, both living and deceased,” she said. 

“They are the very essence of our transplant programmes. It is sometimes hard to convey how much we appreciate their gift.

“Behind each figure in this report are lives transformed by a transplant by virtue of the enormous generosity of families who, in the most difficult circumstances, honour their loved ones wishes by choosing to donate their organs. Each and every time we are humbled by the courage shown by our donor families. This time of year, we all remember those we have lost." 

One person whose life has been changed by the selfless organ donation is Cork woman, Edel Cashman. From Carrigtwohill, Ms Cashman was the recipient of a liver transplant following the diagnosis of autoimmune liver disease. 

Ms Cashman was diagnosed when she was nine years old and upon starting her second year of college, she was rushed to Cork University Hospital with a severe pain in her abdomen. She spent a week in intensive care in CUH before being transferred to St Vincent’s in Dublin, where she was assessed for the transplant list.

“I waited 22 months for my new liver,” she said. “It is literally a new life. People say ‘it’s the gift of life’, which is kind of almost become a cliche, but it literally is the gift of new life. It’s so important for people to talk about organ donation. 

"People need to talk to their families and just have the conversation that if anything were to ever happen, that they want to donate their organs. It means life to someone like me.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said organ donation is “an act of altruism, often made at times of great sadness and grief, which provides the recipients of donated organs with the gift of a new life”.

“As we look back on this year, we must remember that behind each of the 119 donations and 250 transplants that have taken place in 2022 are donors, recipients, and families whose lives have been changed forever,” he said. 

“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those families who have made the selfless decision to donate their loved ones’ organs, as well as the dedicated staff who make organ donation and transplantation possible.

"I would encourage families across the country to talk to your loved ones about organ donation and its role in saving lives." 

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