30 April 2022
By Mary Bermingham
Cork University Hospital (CUH) has launched its “#7LivesSaved” organ donor public awareness campaign in support of Ireland’s National Organ Donation Awareness week (April 23rd – 30th).
The unique visual campaign, which includes images of transplant recipients and the healthcare teams which work on organ donation, aims to encourage people of all ages to have a conversation about organ donation and share their wishes with family and friends.
Over 600 people are currently on waiting lists for life-changing transplants in Ireland but there is an acute shortage of organs available for transplant. Statistically, people are six times more likely to need a transplant for treatment of end-stage organ failure than they are to become an organ donor. Therefore, it is critical to ensure every circumstance where donation is possible is explored as an option with patients’ families in the hospital setting.
The awareness campaign at CUH features current and former CUH patients who received transplants, healthcare team colleagues who have benefitted from donation and members of staff who support organ donation through their work in the hospital. It is hoped to extend the campaign, which is supported by the HSE’s Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland, to all acute hospitals in Ireland to raise awareness among both the general public and healthcare staff.
Dr Adrian Murphy, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Cork University Hospital and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation for South/South-West Hospital Group, said:
“Organ donation requires the support of a very dedicated team in the hospital from the Emergency Department, the Intensive Care Unit and Operating Theatre.
“We are very grateful for the huge support within the hospital and we remember those donors and their families who selflessly give people the priceless gift of life. We are very humbled that these families can put the interests of others ahead of their own at a time of great personal loss. It is a great privilege to care for these families and support them through this difficult time.”
CUH has been a leader in organ donation nationally. In 2021, there was a 100% increase in the organ donation rate at CUH following the introduction of the Donation after Circulatory Death initiative in 2019, which provides another pathway for donors and their families to support organ donation.
There is a very strong ethos of support for organ donation within CUH from all departments and teams. Healthcare staff play a vital role in ensuring organ donation is considered in end-of-life options for patients where there is no prospect of recovery, said Breda Doyle, Organ Donor Nurse Manager at the South/South-West Hospital Group.
“There are organ donation teams throughout our hospitals supporting families and hospital teams to ensure organ donation is considered and raised with families where appropriate. These teams consist of an Organ Donation Nurse Manager and a Consultant Clinical Lead in Organ Donation. The donation team work together with the extended healthcare team to provide patient and family focussed care with the aim of supporting families in difficult circumstances in considering organ donation and helping to ensure it is facilitated where possible.”