NHS has launched National Transplant Week to raise awareness of the growing imbalance between the number of organ donations that take place and the number of people awaiting transplants.
Statistics show that only 22 per cent of the population in Britain has joined the Organ Donor Register. In addition it has been found that while 6,700 patients waited on transplant lists, only 2,200 actually operations took place.
The NHS has designated this week as National Transplant Week in order to raise awareness of the issue to redress this imbalance. In September the law governing organ donation is expected to change and the new Human Tissues Act will place more emphasis on the deceased person's wishes. Present laws authorize one's next of kin to decide over what happens to one's body in the event of his or her death.
However this situation is expected to change soon. Professor Steven Wigmore of the National Kidney Federation said, "This new act has a different tone. It means that if someone puts themselves on the register, theoretically doctors can still go ahead and take organs, even if the relatives oppose donation. In reality, I doubt the family's wishes would ever be overridden, but it changes the way the medical community approach the topic. They will be [in a stronger position] to say to relatives that organ donation was something the deceased definitely wanted to do."
While the topic is extremely sensitive, and Brits by nature don't like to discuss matters such as their own death hearing the stories of those who have been saved by others' generosity can shed a new light on this grim topic.
Some Scots like Jeremy Cadd who had a heart transplant after being diagnosed with viral myocarditis, Cherry O'neill who has had a lung transplant following a diagnosis of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and Ross Martin who has had a kidney and pancreas transplant after a lifetime of diabetes treatment now actively campaign to persuade others to sign the donor register. This seems to be their way of thanking the families of their own donors. While each has gained from kindness, they have not forgotten that that kindness stemmed from someone else's loss.