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Calls for organ donor registry in Ireland

At the launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2012, the Health Minister said 2011 was a record year for organ donation in Ireland.

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Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Irish Kidney Association has called for the establishment of an Irish Organ Donor Registry.

Mark Murphy, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, made the announcement at the National Launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2012.

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, TD, launched the life saving awareness campaign, saying:

Last year was a record year for organ donation and also the year for the lowest number of road traffic deaths ever recorded in the state, dispelling the public myth that most organ donors come from road traffic accidents.

Murphy said that “to increase our levels of organ donation and transplantation the overriding wish would be for an Irish Organ Donor Registry to allow the public to voluntarily identify themselves on a database, similar to the practice in many countries including the UK.”

He argued that directing more resources to increase donation and transplantation levels will save money straight away and asked for the support of the attending Minister for Health for the placement of a symbol for willing organ donors to be featured on the public services card to be issued later this year.

He also outlined his concern that the EU commission may stifle recent progress made between the IKA and the Road Safety Authority to introduce a visible organ donor symbol on the new driver’s licence which will be in plastic card format with photographs.

To address the growing number of people on transplant waiting pools as well as the 100% rise in kidney patients being treated by dialysis over a ten year period, Murphy called on the Minister to divert more resources to organ donation and transplantation.

Welcoming the Minister for Health’s impending Irish Legislation on organ donation and transplantation, Murphy cautioned that legislation will not increase donor rates.

There were 93 deceased organ donors in 2011 and the IKA said:

It is thanks to the generosity of those deceased donors and their grieving families consent to donate organs at a very difficult time last year that 248 organ transplants were possible. Including the additional 27 living donor kidney transplants, a grand total of 275 organ transplants took place in Ireland in 2011 including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

There are currently over 650 people in Ireland awaiting organ transplants.  Last year Beaumont Hospital conducted a record 200 transplants; St Vincent’s University Hospital transplanted 61 livers; and the Mater Miscericordiae University Hospital doubled its transplant activity from 2010 with 8 lung and 6 heart transplants.

Almost 2800 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life away from hospital as a result of receiving organ transplants.

Organ Donor Awareness Week serves as a fundraising and information spreading exercise for the Irish Kidney Association. Throughout the week (31 March – 7 April, 2012), Irish Kidney Association volunteers will be out selling ‘forget me not flower’ emblems (the symbol of transplantation), brooches, magnetic car ribbons and pens.

Proceeds will go to the Irish Kidney Association’s support programme for patients on dialysis and those patients fortunate enough to have a kidney transplant. Donations can be made online by logging on to the website www.ika.ie

Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association LoCall 1890 543639 or freetexting the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website www.ika.ie, or search for ‘Donor ECard’ at the IPhone Store or Android Market Place.

Read: Carry an organ donor card… in your smartphone>

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