Tuesday 16 October 2018

'Giving the gift of life to another is a truly heroic deed' - Record number of organ donations reached in 2017

Jim Egan Picture: Collins Photos
Jim Egan Picture: Collins Photos

Sasha Brady

A record number of organ transplants were carried out in Ireland in 2017.

A total of 308 transplants were carried out this year, up from 280 in 2016.

This is the first year in which milestone of 300 transplants have been reached.

Beaumont Hospital carried out 190 kidney transplant, while St Vincent's carried out 61 liver transplants and five pancreas transplants and the Mater carried out 36 lung transplants and 16 heart transplants.

Professor Jim Egan, Director of Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland said "Our message is simple, organ donation saves lives. 

"Thanks to the generosity of 98 families donating the organs of their loved ones, 308 people have received the gift of life through transplant surgery to date in 2017. 

"The excellent rates of organ donation and transplantation in 2017 reflect the generosity of Irish society.  Most importantly, I acknowledge the courage and generosity of families who have donated their loved one’s organs."  

In the Department of Health's annual report on organ donations, Minister for Health Simon Harris announced that 2017 also saw a record high of 149 organ donations, up from 127 in 2016.

Mr Harris thanked the 98 families of deceased donors who were able to save so many lives this year.

Gratitude was also expressed towards the 51 living kidney donors for their "personal sacrifices".

"Making such personal sacrifice and giving the gift of life to another is a truly heroic deed. I hope all living donors and the beneficiaries of their kindness are doing well and looking forward to the year ahead," said Mr Harris.

The annual report also included the findings of a public consultation around legislation regarding the Proposed Human Tissue Bill, otherwise known as the 'opt-out' system.

The majority of the 261 respondents expressed support for the proposal.

“83pc of consultation respondents stated that the proposed opt-out system would encourage them to discuss their intentions regarding organ donation with their next-of-kin,” said Mr Harris.

"It is important that we all consider our position on organ donation and that we make our views known to our loved one."

In practice, the new rules mean a person would have to sign a register to state that they do not want their organs removed once they pass. If they do not, their consent will be taken as given. However, their next of kin will still ultimately have the power to refuse the removal of the organs.

Mr Harris said his aim is to make organ donation "the norm".

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