Record organ donation numbers last year


THERE WAS a record number of organ donations last year as deceased donors increased by 60 per cent on 2010, the Irish Kidney Association said yesterday.

The association called for an organ donor registry to be introduced to further increase organ donation levels as Organ Donor Awareness Week began yesterday.

There were 93 deceased organ donors last year, which allowed 248 organ transplants to be carried out.

Last year surpassed the previous record of 91 deceased donors which was set in 1998. There were 58 deceased organ donors in 2010.

The association noted that the highest number of donors came in the same year as the lowest number of road traffic deaths.

This dispelled “the public myth that most organ donors come from road traffic accidents”, chief executive Mark Murphy said.

The association called on the Minister for Health to give more resources to organ donation and transplantation. This would help address the growing numbers on transplant waiting lists and a doubling of patients on dialysis in the past decade, the association said.

Mr Murphy said organ donation and transplantation was cheaper for the Government than dialysis.

“Transplantation is far less costly than dialysis and with a sharp increase from 893 dialysis patients between 2002 to a staggering 1795 by the end of 2011, such investment makes economic sense,” Mr Murphy said.

Almost 2,800 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life away from hospital as a result of receiving organ transplants but more than 650 people are awaiting transplants.

Mr Murphy called for an Irish organ donor registry to be set up which would allow people to voluntarily identify themselves on an electronic database.

He urged the Minister for Health to support the placement of a symbol of willing organ donors on public services cards.

A woman believed to be the first in the world to give birth after a triple transplant has meanwhile called on the public to carry donor cards.

Deirdre Roche Doherty (34), who has cystic fibrosis, paid tribute to the families who donated her lung, heart and kidney. “I wouldn’t be here without their kindness,” she said.

The secondary school teacher from Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny, said without the donations she would never have had her 13-month-old daughter, Ruth.

At the age of 19 she received a heart and lung transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, and a kidney transplant in Beaumont Hospital in 2009 when her own was damaged by medication.

Last year Beaumont conducted a record 200 transplants including 165 kidney transplants, 27 of which were from living donors.

In addition to the 192 kidney transplants last year (up 60 per cent on 2010) there were 61 liver transplants (up 60 per cent), six heart transplants (doubled from 2010), eight lung (doubled from 2010) and eight pancreas (no increase).

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained from the Irish Kidney Association on 1890 543639, by texting Donor to 50050 or as a smartphone app.