Families are being urged to discuss organ donation after more than 30 people in East Sussex died waiting for a transplant.
New figures reveal 32 East Sussex residents have died waiting for a transplant in the past five years and 96 people in the county are currently waiting for a transplant.
Last August, 15-year-old Sussex girl Jade Allistone died while waiting for a new heart.
She was on the live list waiting for a heart transplant when she passed away suddenly at the beginning of the month. Since then Jade’s family has been campaigning for more people to register to donate their organs should they die and want to see organ donation become compulsory unless people opt out. Across the UK in 2014/15, the number of people donating organs fell for the first time in 11 years.
NHS Blood and Transplant is highlighting the figures as it publishes the annual Transplant Activity Report, which details organ donation and transplantation across the UK.
On average, three people in the UK die each day in need of an organ transplant. Currently, four out of ten families don’t give permission to donate when approached.
The latest figures show that last year in East Sussex, 42 people’s lives were saved or improved thanks to deceased donation.
A spokeswoman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “More lives would be saved if more families agreed to donate their loved one’s organs after death. In East Sussex, nine people also benefitted from a living donor transplant, where donors gave a kidney or part of their liver.”
NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people in East Sussex to join the Organ Donor Register and then tell their family and friends about their decision.
The spokeswoman added: “Families are much more likely to agree to donation if they know it is what their loved one wanted.”
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “We are truly grateful to the deceased donors who enabled 42 people in East Sussex to receive an organ transplant last year. “Their donations have saved and improved lives. Sadly, 32 people from East Sussex have died while waiting on the transplant waiting list in the past five years.
“We cannot hope to save more lives unless there is a revolution in attitudes towards organ donation. We need everyone talk about organ donation with their families and agree to donate if ever they are asked.
“We understand that families are expected to consider donation in their darkest hour. So we would remind everyone – tell those closest to you now if you want to donate your organs and record that decision by joining the 313,889 people from East Sussex who are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Should the time come, your family will know you want to donate your organs to help to save others.”
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.
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