Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Beaumont's Outstanding Year in Transplantation

243  organ transplants occurred in Ireland in 2009 thanks to the generosity of the families of 90 deceased organ donors. A further 18 living donor transplants took place last year.

At the national launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week  Mr. Mark Murphy, Chief Executive of the IKA congratulated the staff at Beaumont Hospital, the Procurement Service and the Transplant Department for breaking transplant records in 2009, "an extraordinary difficult year for the country and the health service” he said.

In an effort to balance the recent media reports about a small number of organs exported to the UK in 2009, Mr. Murphy said, “while the Transplant Programme in Ireland continues to perform well, Irish patients have also benefited from transplant operations in the UK and there have also been donor organs imported from the UK for Irish patients. Ireland has a small population which enjoys a strong transplantation relationship with its geographically larger neighbour the UK as many Irish patients have benefited from transplantation there!”

Mr. Murphy explained that , “Ireland has no paediatric, liver, heart and lung transplant programmes and we rely entirely on the UK health service to supply this expertise in transplantation to Irish children. Although a very small number of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients received their double lung transplants in Ireland, more Irish CF patients continue to be transplanted in the UK. 3 Irish CF patients received lung transplants in the UK in 2009. 2 livers were imported from the UK to Ireland last year.  4 living transplants from Irish donors and recipients were conducted in the UK in a specialist transplant unit there”.

Mr. Murphy said “he welcomed the UK’s recent acceptance of Irish living donor and recipients in to their living donor pooling system which allows spouses who are incompatible as donors, to each other, to consider donating to a stranger in return for a compatible kidney. This ‘crossover transplantation’ has proved very successful in the USA, Holland and more recently they have started this programme in the UK”.

Amendments to an EU Directive on the Quality and Safety of Human Organ Donation and Transplantation were voted on at the European Parliament in Brussels last Tuesday, 16th March 2010.

Mr. Murphy said “there was intense lobbying process by the Irish Kidney Association about one of the amendments to the directives specific to ‘Living Transplantation’ where some EU Parliamentarians suggested that ‘Living Transplantation’ should only be used ‘as a last resort’. This was strongly contested by the Irish Kidney Association who with the help of the European Kidney Patients Federation (CEAPIR) and the European Kidney Health Alliance, successfully lobbied to achieve a compromise to the wording which now reads ‘living transplantation is complementary to post-mortem donation…’ while at the same time ‘…assuring the highest protection to living donors’. This EU Directive is now a strong blue print for improvements in transplantation all over Europe including Ireland. The final EU Parliamentary vote on the directive takes place on 20th April 2010 in Strasburg.”   The EU Directive when passed will inform the Irish Government in its process of producing a Transplantation Law.

The Department of Health & Children has concluded public consultations on the proposed new Irish Human Tissue Act. The Irish Kidney Association and the Irish Donor Network are disappointed with how the government has been slow to move on this piece of legislation. The majority of organisations are in favour of a separate transplantation law from the Human Tissue Act.   29 of the 30 organisations that responded to the consultation process also favour ‘informed consent’.

There are currently over 600 people in Ireland awaiting life saving transplant operations.
There are approximately 2500 people enjoying extended life thanks to organ transplantation. 

There are 1679 kidney patients currently receiving dialysis treatment including 19 children. 243 organ transplants occurred in Ireland in 2009. There were 154 deceased donor kidney transplants at Beaumont Hospital. 8 pancreases were transplanted simultaneously with a kidney and Beaumont conducted the first pancreas alone transplant since 2003. 22 extra kidney transplants were conducted via living donors making an overall total of 176 kidney transplants of which 172 took place at Beaumont Hospital  and 4 in the UK. In 2009, there were overall 30 kidney transplants more than in each of the previous three years. There were 64 liver transplants conducted in St. Vincent’s Hospital last year. 11 heart transplants and 5 lung transplants were performed at the Mater Hospital.


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