Saturday, 15 August 2009

Donate Life

Next week most of the Woolf females are heading to Brisbane for the 17th World Transplant Games. There will be 24 organ transplant athletes competing for New Zealand, my niece Julia being one of them. The main aim of the games is to raise awareness of the lives saved by talented surgeons using organs donated by individuals and their families.

I've been asking my friends if they are donors, most say they are, but when I ask if they have discussed it with their family members nearly all of them say they haven't. This I found extremely odd, as I've always known of my family's wishes and I would go out of my way to make sure that these wishes were undertaken.

I know discussing death can be a difficult topic, but it is important to tell your next-of-kin of your wishes. Just because you have "donor" on your licence, doesn't mean the doctors will use your organs upon your untimely death. They will always ask the family and ultimately your wishes will be ignored if the family have a problem with organ donation.

By talking to your next-of-kin, you will give them the knowledge they need to make sure your values are upheld at a time when you most probably can't communicate and at a time of extreme stress for your family. Knowing what you wanted will reduce this stress and people will usually honour a person by carrying out their wishes.

Blood donation
Most people I know don't donate blood. This is not because they don't want to, but because they lived in the UK during the mad-cow scare and the blood donation services have decided they won't take our blood. There are of course many other reasons why people can't donate blood and so arises a shortage, but of course you all know this by now, they don't advertise for donors for the fun of it. There are a couple of reasons for non-donation that can easily be avoided by following the "harden up" rule to life:

* needle phobia - if it hurts at all, it is only for a few seconds.

* fainting - relates to the above - apply the "harden up" rule and anyway you are lying down so there's nowhere to fall.

As I'm often in the Hematology department I watch bag after bag of blood being hooked up to grateful patients every hour of the day - the blood banks are often running short. If you're not donating then just think how hypocritical you'll feel when you land up in hospital with a bag of blood attached to your arm.

Same goes for non-organ donors - they cringe at the thought of giving their organs, but if they suddenly needed an organ themselves, they'd be fighting to get to the front of the queue.


Night City Trader said...

"Next week most of the Woolf females are heading to Brisbane for..."

No no, Anna, the correct term is 'She Wolf', or 'She Wolves'.

Anonymous said...

As long as my organs go only to
anti-thiest objectivists.

Maria said...

Are we allowed to choose whether organs go to socialists or not


Annie Fox! said...

I wouldn't go down that track if I were you, remember there are more socialist/religious/anti-objectivists than us. You don't want them doing it back at us - we'd lose that one.

jillie said...

Night Trader is a knowitall!!!!!

This is very interesting Annie as in Australia they have what is called "A Living Will" where you can record your wishes and have them actioned for you while alive though incapable of making yourself understood ie coma or whatever, which I feel would be a very useful tool in NZ.

Maria's comment is also interesting as I dont know how I would feel if my organs were donated to a serial killer or a terrorist (depending what sort) or similar. Its a bit like donated eggs to a fertility bank and a recipient being a child abuser.

Lawrence of Otago said...

Hi Annie,

You might have seen some of my blood in those bags.

I am a regular donor, next appointment for me is Thursday at 10:10, keep an eye out for it!


Night City Trader said...


Not sure I would want my organs going to someone working class, or socialist, or a foreigner.

It is a wonder you cannot discriminate about these things to ensure only the right sort of people benefit from organ donations.

Annie Fox! said...

My god you guys are mad, I can now see why each party to the donation is kept confidential :o)