The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is encouraging the people of Kirklees to help others live after their death by becoming organ donors and most importantly talking to their family about their wishes.
Last year at Mid Yorks NHS Trust five donors lead to 10 transplant operations which prolonged the lives of nine people, but this was from an initial group of more than 60 potential donors.
Intensive Care Consultant Helen Buglass, is the Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at the Trust, she said: “The fact that we were able to give new life to nine people was fantastic, but when you consider over 60 people were initially referred to the organ donation team it highlights that there is still so much more to be done.
“People can be deemed unsuitable for donation for a number of reasons but even if someone is on the organ donation register their family can still refuse to give consent if they are unaware of their loved one’s wishes. This is why it is imperative people talk to their family about what they want to happen after their death.”
Penny Hartley is one person who knows how important these conversations are. The 57 year old received a double lung transplant in October 2014 after 14 months on the transplant list following a diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
“I’d suffered with breathlessness for almost 20 years,” said Penny, “but I just learned to live with it. It was normal for me. Then things got worse and I was referred to Dr Currie at Dewsbury, where I had an x-ray and it was discovered I had IPF.”
IPF is the most common type of interstitial lung disease (ILD). It causes inflammation or scar tissue to build up in your lungs, making them thick and hard. This build-up of scar tissue (called fibrosis) causes your lungs to become stiffer and lose their elasticity so they are less able to take oxygen from the air you breathe.
Penny was told the only option for her was a double lung transplant and she was placed on the active waiting list.
“When I got the call I was over the moon,” she continued. “I was told afterwards that it if I hadn’t had the operation in the October when I did, I wouldn’t have seen Christmas. I was unaware at the time how bad my condition had become.
“If it hadn’t been for the donor and her family making such a generous gift of life I would never have met my first grandchild. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am that I got another chance at life and my experience has certainly changed my outlook.
“I would encourage everyone who can to sign the register and tell their family, you never know when it could be you, or a member of your family, in need of an organ.”