The gift of organ donation has the power to saves lives. Despite increased community awareness, the number of patients who need lifesaving transplants continues to exceed the number of generous donors.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has seen a significant increase in organ and tissue donation over the past 12 months after the implementation of best practice guidelines when it comes to discussing organ donation with families.
Thirty-seven generous RMH patients became organ donors in 2017 and already in 2018, 30 donors have transformed the lives of 90 patients awaiting organ transplants.
RMH is a national leading centre for organ donation, with one in every three donors in Victoria being a patient from the RMH.
Victoria remains the most generous state in terms of donors with a total of 106 organ donations last year.
The rates of successful organ donations continue to increase with a 12 per cent growth in consent rate noted over the 2016/2017 year and a 56 per cent growth in organ donors over that same period.
“I think it’s a combination of hospitals getting busier and that we’re getting better at communicating with families during the worst time of their lives,” Senior Emergency Department Consultant and Medical Donation Specialist, Dr Martin Dutch, said.
“We’re one of the leading hospitals when it comes to adopting national best practice when discussing organ donation with families.”
The implementation of a computer-based referral and screening tool to prompt clinicians to refer potential eye and tissue donors has also seen improved eye and tissue referral rates with a growth of 78%.
“Only about 2% of people who pass away in hospital can actually be organ donors, but it’s different for eye or tissue donors as they do not have to necessarily pass away in hospital,” Martin said.
Martin attributes this increase in donation figures to early identification of potential organ and tissue donors, improved staff awareness and communication, and most importantly, the incredible generosity our patients and families.
“We would encourage the public to discover more about organ and tissue donation, discuss their donation intent with their loved ones and register their intent on the national organ donor register.”
This DonateLife Week (29 July – 5 August), Australians are being urged to give hope to those whose lives depend on an organ transplant by joining the Australian Organ Donor Register online and letting family members know your wishes to be a donor.
To join the Australian Organ Donor Register, or for more information visit donatelife.gov.au