Making organ donation ‘usual’ at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is supporting National Transplant Week (4-10 July) by offering information on organ donation.

Today more than 10,000 people in the UK need an organ transplant which could save or dramatically improve their lives. 96% of us would take an organ if we needed one but only 29% of the population are on the Organ Donor Register.

Every year 1,000 people die while waiting for an organ transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list.

In an attempt to reduce the gap between the number of patients waiting for a transplant and the number of organs available, the Trust’s Organ Donation Team aim to make donation usual rather than unusual. They have improved donation services throughout the Trust and are working to ensure all patients and their families are offered the opportunity of organ and/or tissue donation where appropriate. An information stand will be situated in the King’s Treatment Centre at King’s Mill Hospital on 4th July between 9am and 1pm.

Steve and Helen Barratt from Sutton know only too well the importance of donating and receiving organs.

When their only child Laura was born they didn’t expect a lifetime of uncertainty. From the age of six months Laura needed constant monitoring and was under the care of the paediatric renal unit at Nottingham City Hospital. Unfortunately by the age of two years Laura became gravely ill and needed dialysis. She was put on the transplant list.

“When your only child’s life is faced with such an uncertain future you constantly live in fear of what lies around the corner. Only a transplant at this young age was the light at the end of our traumatic tunnel” said Steve.

“Fortunately Laura received her first transplant at the age of four, which enabled her to go to school and be like any other child - eating and drinking what she loved and also growing well and being ‘normal’”.

Helen said: “Laura was given a beautiful gift by someone who looked at how precious life is and was brave and compassionate enough to register onto the donor transplant list. This decision gave our daughter the chance to lead a normal life.

“Laura has turned 21 now and received her third transplant from Steve seven years ago. She is an absolute credit not only to us but to the brave families who through their loss have allowed her to grow into a kind, thoughtful, talented and beautiful young lady”.

Dr Paul Smith (Consultant in Intensive Care), who is the Trust’s Lead for Organ Donation, said: “Transplants are one of the most miraculous achievements of modern medicine, but they depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families.

“Every year the lives of thousands of people are saved or transformed through organ transplantation. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and discussing this with your family you can help increase this number”.

Sign up to the register by visiting King’s Mill Hospital during National Transplant Week or by calling the organ donor line on 0300 123 23 23.