A lot of the people I follow on Twitter have been talking about #transplantweek, a way to get everyone aware of the need for organ donors.

In my years as an A&E nurse I only knew of two people passing through my doors that went on to be organ donors, helping people that they never met. Two people in many years is simply not good enough.

In my ambulance work I find myself going to dialysis wards, people who desperately need kidneys. The chairs are always full – people connected to machines that clean their blood and keep them alive.

I've been to people who need liver transplants, waiting for someone to donate their liver to them so that they can live. These patients are swollen, yellow and in pain, and all I can do is take them to hospital where they can be 'managed' for a little while longer.

There was a child on my patch who needed a heart and lung transplant. She was lucky and got one, and I don't see her any more.

Once upon a time, when I would go to people who had suffered trauma, we would rush them into hospital where they would get blood transfusions that would save their lives. As a nurse I can't even guess at the amount of blood products I've given people. I used to be the one sent for the blood because the storage was halfway across the hospital and it never bothered me walking the hospital grounds late at night.

Organ donation saves lives – of that there is no doubt.


There are myths that doctors will 'let you die' so that they can get their hands on your innards – I can tell you that this is completely untrue.

I've been on the organ donor list for as long as I can remember. I wouldn't be on it if I thought there was anything 'dodgy' about it.

You'd accept a kidney if you needed it to survive, why wouldn't you donate one when you no longer need it?


Why don't you sign up today – help someone out when you pop your clogs. It's the ultimate in green recycling.

Register as an organ donor.

22 thoughts on “Transplant”

  1. Have just signed up! Thank you for reminding me! I've been quite freaked out about the idea of donating my eyes, but like you say I would accept them if I needed them. Doesn't stop me having to blink frequently at the thought of it though!

  2. I carry a donor card and gave blood regulary until needing 196 pills a week just to stay alive forced me to cease donating.One other aspect is bone marrow. We hear a lot that donors are required, yet 20 years ago I applied to donate marrow and never heard anything again.

  3. Excellent post!I've carried a donor card for years and have also registered online.

    I've also been a stem cell donor for my sister's cancer treatment, and I'd do it again if anyone could benefit!

    In terms of being a BM/ST donor, there is such a tiny chance of anyone other than a sibling matching enough for a donation, that I'm not surprised a commenter hasn't heard anything!

  4. Just checked my wallet — donor card is still there, and proudly proclaims that I'm registered on the central list. Huzzah!(After all, when my mind expires, I'm not going to need the bits any more. If someone else can make good use of them, carry on!)I do give blood regularly (at the newly refurbished permanent donor centre next to Oxford Circus) — but I have been bad in that, despite volunteering for testing, and being told I have lots of the things, I haven't sorted out platelet donation.Really should get around to doing that..

  5. It annoys me that my lifestyle choices mean I can't give blood. Like: going to the US.In the UK, if you've been to the US recently, you can't give blood, because of West Nile Virus.In the US, if you've been to the UK recently, you can't give blood, because of CJD.This… my brain… ow. Still, it's better than it could be: I almost have had gay sex once. Then I'd never be able to donate again.*scowl*I carry my donor card everywhere, but it would suck a lot less if I didn't have to DIE before I could have my parts harvested to help someone, you know?

  6. Both my husband and I are organ donors, and I'm also on the Anthony Nolan Trust Bone Marrow list as well (although as we're overseas I'm “on hold” until we get home. I also used to give blood until I passed out once and they told me not to come back :(As an aside – what are your thoughts on the “opt-out” option? To me, it seems the most sensible option………….

  7. I have been registered as a donor since I was a kid – my dad and I had a long talk and he told me then that they would give permission for my organs to be used. If I'm dead, I'm not going to need anything, so I'd rather someone else had it. All of my family are aware of my wishes!

  8. As an NHS worker, I would have expected all my colleagues to be ready to donate whatever bits they don't need in the future.Sadly this is not the case. There are plenty who have never got round to doing it. I can understand that but I know people who just “don't like” the idea.

    If you are not religious, what do you care? It's just meat. If you are religious, surely it is a charitable act. Better giving it to a human being than some worms.

  9. great post, I come from a family of blood donors (except my husband who is 'scared of needles'… *sigh*) and my mum just gave my brother her kidney. I agree, if I (or hubby or my children, heaven forbid) don't need something when we die, I'd love to help someone else live and have a better quality of life.

  10. 🙂 I'm a registered organ donor, and talked my boyfriend into registering too. It is an important and worthwhile thing to do 🙂

  11. Howdy!I don't know if Brits in particular may be dis-incentived to

    sign their organ donor cards due to this….

  12. I'm an organ doner and I'll be giving blood as soon as they let me! I went to Egypt last October so I have to wait until at least then until I can give blood again.Saving a life is well worth the effort and the low BP for a few days! As a medic and a wannabe Paramedic I'd do a lot more than sit in a chair for half an hour to save a life. Just think, after you've done it you can say to people “I saved a life today!”

  13. I'm a registered donor. But I don't know if they'll accept my organs should the “become available”. I'm not allowed to be a blood donor, as I've received blood products, had cancer But critically it seems, am a practicing (not as much as I'd like) homosexual. My life has been saved by blood donation, and I'd like to return to giving blood. Please, everyone, do register. And give blood if you can.

  14. I been on the register for so long I often wonder if I am still there. Signed up when I was giving blood in the 90's. Also did the Bone marrow register.The thing that upsets me is the number of people on the register or who carry cards that Doctors just do not ask permission for.

  15. On July 28, 2004, the love of my life, Rory, passed away. He had been waiting nearly 9 YEARS for a kidney, after going on the UNOS list on August 3, 1995. We had been married almost 20 years. Those years were sheer torture watching him die a slow death. I cherished every moment I had with him, however. Every day we had together was a gift from God. Our children got to spend precious time with their father, but not enough time. My son never got to have his father at his wedding, my daughter didn't have him at her graduation from high school, or the birth of her son (Yes, I was there.).We were both organ donors before he ever needed a kidney, and I continue to be one to this day. Once it has been decided that my brain is no longer functioning, use my body… use every possible bit of me to help others to see, to breathe, to be released from dialysis, to heal from burns, to enjoy another sunset, to spend time with their child or grandchild, for a child to enjoy playing again.

    Then, once everything that can be used is used, cremate me, and spread my ashes back upon this Earth.

    If you haven't signed up in your country, state, province, etc, please do so. Once you are gone, you won't need your organs any longer. And make sure your family and friends know of your choice to provide life to others, so they will ensure your wishes are carried out.

  16. 1) Go on a day you feel relaxed, and at a time of day you tend to feel relaxed.2) Have a good breakfast/lunch before you go.

    3) Don't look at the needles etc. going into other people's arm or your own on the first time. Just look the other way.

    4) Focus on a happy place and relax.

    That's about all I can suggest, as a generally nervy person who's given about 20 times… part 2 is probably the most important, and good for more than just nerves, since it'll help keep you from fainting or dizzyness besides, which are the only real risks with the procedure.

  17. Even if you can't give blood, you can still register as a bone marrow donor with the Anthony Nolan trust for the very small chance of a match coming up. Or, if you're uber-generous, you could look into being an altruistic live kidney donor – you'll need to take 6 weeks off work for it, but the NHS will refund your employer.Bone marrow link:

    Kidney link:

  18. I come from a family of long livers (age not organ!) my mother being 96 years old. It got me thinking what would my organs be like at that age, would they be of any use to anyone when I died if I lived to be very old. So although I am on the donor register I decided to give one of my kidneys away now while I could just in case later they were no good to anyone. For anyone considering donating a kidney to a stranger or even to someone they know and want to know much more about the donor side of it, then please check out this blog which gives a very indepth account of being a kidney donor from the evaluation process right through to recovery. Maybe it will encourage a few people to consider this …

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