Tragic teen's father in donor law plea
Published 18/03/2010 | 05:00
THE father of a tragic heart transplant teenager who died last June has urged the Government to change the law on organ donations.
Kiva Humphries, from Deansgrange, Dublin, died just days before her 17th birthday.
She was on an ALVAD (abdominal left ventricular assist device) for 430 days while she waited for a suitable heart to save her life -- the longest time a person has survived on such a machine in Ireland.
Kiva was a happy, healthy teenager until January 2008, when she began to suffer from breathlessness and tests showed she had suffered heart failure as a result of a virus.
Her father, Joe, last night called on the Department of Health to establish a national transplant system. "When Kiva finally got her transplant, complications with the operation meant she was unable to survive her ordeal. An earlier transplant might have helped," Mr Humphries said.
Last May, the Government published the outcome of a consultation paper on 'Consent for the Donation of Organs after Death for Transplantation'. Of 1,068 submissions, 81pc voted in favour of the "opt-out" option and 10pc in favour of the "opt-in" option.
Mr Humphries said that when next of kin hear of the death of a loved one, they are already in shock and then to be asked for permission to remove organs "must push towards a negative answer". But if the next of kin know that person did not "opt out", it is easier to approach them for all concerned, he added.