ORGAN donations have doubled across Northumberland and North Tyneside in the past two years, but even more are needed.
Since specialist organ donation nurse Tracey Carrott was appointed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the amount of organ donors has increased from seven in 2010/11 to 15 in 2012/13, while tissue donations have gone up 60 per cent, with 124 families consenting to donate corneas, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves from their loved ones.
However, just 32 people in the North East have benefited from a life-saving transplant this year and while there are more than 700,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in the region, less than half of families agree to donation when their loved ones’ wishes aren’t known.
Ms Carrott said: “The key message is for families to talk to each other about donation. Simply being registered as an organ donor is not enough as it is your loved ones who will have to make decisions.”
When Hadston resident Anne Simpson’s husband Brian died after a severe stroke in March last year at the age of just 63, she decided to donate his kidney, a heart valve and skin, even though he was not registered as a donor.
She said: “Brian’s brother received a kidney transplant himself many years ago and has been able to live a full and happy life and because of this I know Brian wouldn’t hesitate to help someone else. Our son served in the Army and the skin Brian has donated will go to help wounded soldiers serving in Afghanistan, which would also make him very proud.
“I would really encourage everyone to talk to their loved ones about organ and tissue donation as so many more people who are waiting for transplants could be saved and lead much more fulfilling lives.”