‘In death our donors give life’: Over 200 organ transplants carried out in 2021

'Organ donation saves lives. For all the positive stories of successful transplant, sadly some patients do and will die each year while waiting for a transplant'
‘In death our donors give life’: Over 200 organ transplants carried out in 2021

Sarah Mooney

More than 200 organ transplants were carried out this year thanks to the “generosity and kindness” of 99 organ donors and their families, the HSE has confirmed.

The HSE’s Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI) office said 203 transplants took place in 2021.

Across the three national transplant centres, 137 kidney, 34 liver, 20 lung, 10 heart and two pancreas transplants were completed. This includes kidney transplants from 35 living donors.

Dr Catherine Motherway, the HSE’s clinical lead on organ donation, thanked the donors and families who chose to donate organs and save the lives of others.

“This time of year we remember those who have gone before us. On behalf of ODTI, intensive care staff, transplant teams and transplant recipients I wish to thank and honour the memory of our deceased donors,” she said.

“Organ donation saves and changes lives. It is an honour to be able to work with families who time and time again find it in themselves when faced with the sudden death of a loved one to think of others. We cannot express enough our gratitude. In death our donors give life.”

'Have that conversation'

Over 600 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant in Ireland. This includes patients on dialysis awaiting kidney transplants and patients waiting for lung, heart and liver transplants.

ODTI is appealing to people around Ireland to #HaveThatConversation by sharing their views and wishes on organ donation with their loved ones.

“We are asking all... to remember that organ donation saves lives,” it said. “For all the positive stories of successful transplant, sadly some patients do and will die each year while waiting for a transplant.

“Having the conversation ensures wherever possible the loss of one precious life can be turned to benefit many others through donation.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly described organ donation as “among the most selfless gifts we can give another” and urged families to “help to make organ donation the norm in situations where the opportunity arises.”

“Organ donation can be the gift of life for some people, and I encourage families across the country to have that conversation, discuss their intentions around organ donation and make family members aware of their wishes,” he said.

Pandemic

The Minister also paid tribute to organ donors, their families and the “hard work, professionalism and dedication” of transplant staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said he intends to bring the Human Tissue Bill to Cabinet early in 2022, which will provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation.

Dr Motherway said the past 18 months of the pandemic were “incredibly difficult” for transplant services.

“We have worked to try to ensure that we can continue to offer organ donation and to maintain transplant programmes. Intensive care, theatre, medical and nursing staff across our donor hospitals and transplant centres continue with true professionalism to support organ donation and transplantation,” she said.

She paid special tribute to her late colleague Siobhán Brosnan Shanahan, an organ donation nurse manager at University Hospital Limerick who died early this year. “True to her beliefs, she gave the gift of life to others by donating her organs,” she said.

See www.hse.ie/organdonation for more information and #HaveThatConversation #OrganDonationSavesLives on social media.

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