Let’s talk organ donation

Photograph of AHS team
July 31, 2020

The challenges of 2020 have led to many innovative and solution-oriented approaches to continue delivering excellent health care to our community but, for those awaiting an organ or tissue donation, COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity to this life-saving process.

The restrictions in place to help manage and respond to COVID-19 has many implications not least the capacity to transport life-saving organs to waiting matching recipients inter-state.

What it hasn’t changed is the number of people who are waiting for organ transplants which is why Armadale Hospital’s (AH) DonateLife Clinical Nurse Specialist Nabeela Shihab stresses that it’s more important than ever to have the conversation about donation with your family and friends and register to be an organ and tissue donor.

“With around 1,700 Australians currently on the wait list for a life-saving transplant, and a further 12,000 people on dialysis, the generous act of organ and tissue donation has a far-reaching effect, changing the lives of both transplant recipients and their families,” Nabeela said.

For someone seriously ill, an organ or tissue transplant can mean the difference between life and death, being healthy and sick, between seeing and being blind or between being active and never walking again. It enables people to resume an active role in their family, workplace and community.

Nabeela explains that at AH, and all hospitals involved in organ and tissue retrieval, the process is only possible with a committed and specialist trained team.

“So, as we acknowledge DonateLife Week, we say thank you to the ICU, ED and Theatre teams who continue to refer potential organ and tissue donors to DonateLife WA for suitability assessments and facilitate organ donation at Armadale Hospital.”

In 2019 DonateLife received ten referrals from AH and for all involved it’s a humbling occasion knowing that the generous decision to donate may give one or more people a second chance.

DonateLife Week is Australia’s national awareness week dedicated to promoting organ and tissue donation. It is led by the Organ and Tissue Authority in partnership with DonateLife agencies in every state and territory and other key stakeholders across Australia.

To join the donor register please visit the DonateLife website.