Saturday, 12 July 2014

*Organ Donation Week*


Had I given Organ Donation a thought before Martha Grace was born? Yes. I signed up online years ago and was always happy enough for someone to have any part of me that a Dr deemed usable.

Had I considered the impact my decision might make to someone in need one day? No...


Until we had Martha I had never contemplated the difference my decision might make to a family one day.

You might not know this but the Arch Augmentation which was was performed on the 27th August (the operation which saved her life) required donor tissue. Someone somewhere made the selfless decision to donate organs/tissue upon their death - without them quite simply, Martha Grace would not be here.

The "T" word is something we've never discussed in front of Martha; we've always been petrified that she'd hear it and think "Oooohhh, I'd like a shiny new one please!". In all honesty, it's not even something that any Doctor has mentioned to us, I don't know if that is because she is an unsuitable candidate or if she genuinely hasn't reached that point where it's a possibility for her.

But I can assure you, it is something that me and Mark have discussed. He knows my wishes and I know his.

It was the children I've struggled with.

In my opinion, it's a decision you need to make when you're children are happy and healthy - not in their final hours when no parent can have a single rational thought.

No one likes to think of their children's mortality, but spend a few weeks in an intensive care and watch parents walk out of the ward after turning off their child's life support - it's hard not to put yourself in their shoes.

I don't particularly like the idea of any of my babies being stripped of their organs; of getting just a hollow shell to bury. I'd rather they were left alone.

But there was a little boy in the bed-space next to Martha on Flamingo. He had been a happy and healthy 6 year old boy until August 2013 when he was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy - he desperately needed a new heart. I saw my own son in him. Even though I had my own baby  fighting for her life, it upset me so much to see him too weak to do anything for himself - then to imagine what if something like that happened to Osh? Wouldn't I want someone to be brave enough to donate their child's organs that they no longer needed? Luckily the little boy received his new heart back in February - but let's not forget the brave Mam and Dad who made it possible, their strength during every parents worst nightmare of losing a child.

That's when it dawned on me. If you'd happily accept an organ if it meant saving a loved one's life - shouldn't you be willing to donate yours when you no longer need them.

As of 1st December 2015, Wales will be the first UK country to introduce the "opt-out" system. This means that unless you have specifically registered as not wanting to donate your Organs and tissue - you will be treated as though you have no objection to becoming a donor. This is called "deemed consent" and will apply to everyone who lives and dies in Wales from 1st December 2015.

For those of you not living in Wales, I implore you - make your family aware of your wishes now. While you're healthy. Don't leave it so that they have to make the decision for you during your final hours - make it so that they are sure that they are doing the right thing by you even in death.

If you would like more information on becoming an Organ and Tissue donor, then take a look at this article from Benenden, which I found to be very useful.


*This is is a collaborative post