Saving lives: lets talk about organ donation 

09/07/2014 00:00 
"My wife Kate saved the lives of five people. She lives on in others."  Widower Patrick Collins has been sharing his experiences with staff, patients and visitors at UCLH to raise awareness, as part of NHS National Transplant Week www.transplantweek.co.uk.
 

When Mr Collins' wife died unexpectedly of a brain haemorrhage five years ago, he and his three grown-up sons took some comfort in the knowledge that her organs would give life to others. Specialist nurses at UCLH supported the family throughout the process.

Mr Collins, who is a member of the UCLH Organ Donation Committee, said: “ It doesn’t take away the pain of losing Kate but it does help knowing that some good has come out of our loss.”

Described by her husband as a “great mother and best friend”, Mrs Collins donated her lungs, liver, kidney and pancreas. Her aortic valve was also stored and three years later it saved the life of a young child in Africa.

Mr Collins was joined in the University College Hospital atrium by UCLH specialist nurses Rebecca Westlake and Mark Whitehouse and Amanda Gibbon, lay chair of the UCLH Organ Donation committee.

They were available to provide information and answer any questions. You can meet them at a similar awareness raising event this Friday morning (11 July, 9am-noon) at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square.

Pat Collins with his beloved Kate


As you read this, around 7,500 people of all ages across the UK are waiting for an organ transplant. On average, three people a day will die because there are simply not enough organs.

Specialist nurse Rebecca Westlake added: "We want to encourage people to think about the issues, talk it over with their friends and family and consider signing up to the donor register.

"No one likes to think about dying – but we would urge people to have that conversation and to let loved ones know what their wishes are.”

According to NHS Blood and Transplant, around 95 per cent of families will agree to donation if a loved one is registered and has discussed their wishes. This drops to around 45 per cent if donation wishes aren't known.

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