Specialist nurses help boost transplant figures
The number of transplants this year has increased thanks to the appointment of six nurses in hospitals across the country who liaise with bereaved families about donating a loved one's organs.
The nurses perform a number of roles, including working sensitively with families where a patient is critically ill to explore with them the option of organ donation.
This means that vital organs which might be lost to patients on waiting lists are offered after consultation with relatives.
The overall target is to carry out 300 transplants this year. So far, 157 have been performed, involving 47 deceased donors and 17 living donors.
July was the best month so far, with 36 performed. A spokesman for the Department of Health said the combination of the new Organ Procurement Service and the very recent appointment of six organ donation nurse managers - one in each hospital group - was yielding early results.
"The figures for July, by far the best this year, are encouraging and every effort will continue be made to achieve the target of 300 transplants this year. The figure of 294 in 2013 was the highest achieved to date," the spokesman said.
Kidneys can be donated from living donors as a healthy person can lead a normal life with only one kidney.
But most organ donations come from patients who die of a brain haemorrhage, severe head injury or stroke and are on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU). Death is diagnosed by brain stem tests.
Around 600 people are on the transplant list nationwide.
Mark Murphy, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association, said the level of organ donation in 2014 was the second poorest in 20 years.
At the end of last year, there were 74 more adults on kidney dialysis than a year earlier.