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More grieving families give gift of life in organ donation

Dr Elena Cavazzoni, co State Medical Director for NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, and organ recipient Marion Walsham of Banora Point, at Lismore Base Hospital. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Dr Elena Cavazzoni, co State Medical Director for NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, and organ recipient Marion Walsham of Banora Point, at Lismore Base Hospital. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

DECEASED organ donors have reached their highest ever number in 2015, according to Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service figures show there were 127 deceased organ donors in NSW in 2015 - surpassing the previous record of 102 donors in 2013 and exceeding the 2015 target of 116 donors.

Many people saved

The 127 donors enabled 379 organs to be transplanted.

There was also a boost in tissue donations in NSW in 2015, including 669 corneal transplants to restore sight, as well as heart valve transplants to correct malformations and bone and tendon donations for spinal fusions and treatments after cancer, trauma and sports injuries.

"Last year was a remarkable year for organ and tissue donation. At a time of immense grief and distress, a record number of NSW families chose to give the gift of life to someone in need," Mrs Skinner said.

Boosted transplantation

In 2012, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government released Increasing Organ Donation in NSW, a plan to boost the transplantation rate.

Initiatives included the closure of the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (formerly RTA) organ donor register - moving to the single national Australian Organ Donor Register, administered by Medicare - and targeted placement of trained donation specialists in hospitals to manage the difficult conversation with grieving families.

"The 2015 result could not have been achieved without the expert care for families and organ and tissue donor patients provided by specialist doctors and nurses in our hospital intensive care units and emergency departments," Mrs Skinner said.

Long transplant list

"Over 1,600 Australians are on the organ transplant list at any time but organ donation is a very rare event - only about one per cent of deaths occur in circumstances which allow organ donation to take place.

"Next of kin can override the wish of the deceased, so I urge everyone to let their loved ones know what they want to happen in the event of their untimely death - and to register that decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register. One conversation today could save many lives in the future."

For more information, visit www.donatelife.gov.au

Topics:  jillian skinner organ donation



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