29/03/2011

Record Fall In Irish Organ Donations

The Irish Kidney Association (IKA) has reported that 2010 saw a dramatic decline in the number of organ donors in Ireland.

Some of the major teaching hospitals only saw one or two patients providing organs for the national transplant service.

The Association has voiced concerns that families of potential donors in hospital are not being approached because of staffing shortages and work pressures in the country’s intensive care units.

In 2010, there were 58 deceased organ donors, leading to 151 transplants, a 35% fall in the number of donors compared with the previous year.

Mark Murphy, IKA Chief Executive said he did not believe it was a lack of public willingness to donate.

The National Renal Transplant programme at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin reported that the number of kidney transplants increased sharply in the first two months of this year, compared to last year.

There were 44 kidney transplants completed in January and February of this year compared to 17 transplants in the same period last year.

The IKA says informed consent should continue to be the system under which organs are donated in Ireland.

The Department of Health and Children has said there is no question of organs being taken without the consent of the family under the new opt-out organ donation system it plans to introduce.

The Department said that full consultation will take place with the next of kin.

Dr James Reilly, Minister for Health is due to meet with the IKA soon to discuss the issue.

Groups involved in organ donation will today launch organ donor awareness week, which takes place from 2-9 April.

A new organ donor card is also being launched that will allow people to record their wishes via smart phone application.

(BMcN/GK)

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