Although Alder Hey does not perform organ transplant procedures, we do work very closely with NHS Blood and Transplant and other NHS providers in preparing and caring for patients who need organ transplants. Alder Hey’s PICU team also work closely with NHS Blood and Transplant in talking to families about the option of organ donation.
If you come to our PICU you should expect that organ donations will be explored with you as a possible option.
We also promote organ donation at Alder Hey and we will encourage people to register a decision with NHS Blood and Transplant.
What is organ donation?
Organ donation is the gift of an organ to help someone else who needs a transplant. Hundreds of people’s lives are saved each year by the generosity of organ donors. It is often the best and sometimes only treatment available for those who suffer disease or failure of a major organ.
You can donate some organs while you are alive, and this is called living organ donation. However, most organ and tissue donations come from people who have died.
Organs that can be donated after death include the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and small bowel. Tissue such as skin, bone, heart valves and corneas can also be used to help others.
One donor can give life to several people and restore the sight of two more.
There is a critical shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for a transplant is increasing all the time. Right now, more than 8,000 people in the UK need an organ transplant and every year around 400 people die while waiting for a suitable donor organ.
The need for donors has never been greater.
How is consent established for children?
If someone under the age of 18 dies in England, their parents would be approached about organ donation and given the opportunity to consent on their child’s behalf. Organ donation would only go ahead with the agreement of the family.
The deemed consent, or ‘opt out’ system in England does not apply to children.
If there was a decision recorded on the NHS Organ Donor Register, this information would be shared with the family. Anyone can register an organ donation decision at any age.
- You are more likely to need a transplant than become a donor.
- Each year in the UK nearly 3,000 organs are transplanted and over 2,000 sight-saving cornea transplants are carried out.
- The removal of organs is carried out with the same care and respect as any other operation.
- Many relatives say that they have found some comfort in knowing that the loss of their loved one has given someone else the chance to live.
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Organ and Tissue Donation Committee
The Organ Donation Committee is formed from a core group of individuals at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital who work closely with many of the hospital services, ensuring that strategies and resources are in place to ensure that organ donation can occur.
We ensure that there are robust policies in place and that we maintain best practice alongside national guidance in all aspects of end-of-life care and donation practices.
We believe that all families should have the opportunity to be involved in decision making around donation and we strive to ensure these choices are given to families in a timely manner.
The committee also works to promote knowledge and awareness of donation and its benefits throughout the hospital and the wider community.
Meet the team
Dr. Alfie Bass – Organ Donation Committee Chair
Dr. Carla Thomas – Clinical Lead for Organ Donation
Laura Gibney – Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation
Useful links and resources (the website links below will take you from Alder Hey’s website)
To register your decision about becoming an organ donor go to the NHS organ donation website at www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision