Organ Donation: As an intensive care consultant who has benefited from a transplant, I hope the opt-out system will lead to a change in attitude – Dr. Radha Sundaram

Organ donations save lives (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

As an intensive care consultant – and clinical head of organ donation at NHS Blood and Transplant Scotland – this has given me hope that more people than ever before will receive the organ transplant they so desperately need and be saved. many lives.

It is still too early to tell what effect the new legislation has had in terms of real data and whether it has led to a measurable increase in the number of deceased donors, but personally I see more talk about organ donation in families. in critical situations in intensive care units.

The pandemic has no doubt affected the number of donations and transplants, but teams across Scotland are working tirelessly to facilitate these lifesaving and enhancement surgeries wherever it is safe to do so.

It’s never easy when a loved one dies, but many families report great comfort knowing that others have benefited from their loss and that they are honoring the wishes of their loved ones.

If it wasn’t for organ donation, I wouldn’t be the doctor I am today: a few years ago my eyesight started failing me. A few months later, I was told that my vision would gradually deteriorate if I did not undergo a corneal transplant. I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to see, and although it wasn’t a matter of life or death for me, it would have completely changed my life.



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In 2015, thanks to the generosity of two extremely brave families, I received life-saving transplants—and to this day, I owe them so much; I can live my life as before, continue to drive a car, work in intensive care, help others and do what I love.

I see the need for organ donation every day – the statistics are sobering: every day in the UK, three people die while waiting for a life-saving transplant. You are five times more likely to need a transplant than donating, and only one percent of people die in circumstances where they can donate their organs.

One-third of patients on transplant waiting lists are from blacks, Asians, and ethnic minorities, but before the legislation went into effect, less than seven percent of those on the organ donor registry were from these communities, so talking about donating is now more important than ever.

Including a faith section in the organ donor registry allows health care providers to have relevant information about what is important to the patient at the end of life.

As this law enters its first year, I want organ donation to become the norm, for everyone to discuss their desires with their families and loved ones, and to have a more positive attitude towards donation in society.

I want to use the sense of cooperation, forge new relationships and provide a deeper understanding of the views and needs of our ethnically diverse society in order to continue saving lives and providing hope.

Dr Radha Sundaram, BMA Scotland

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