Students urged to become organ donors

Students urged to become organ donors

Third-level students around the country are being urged to sign up to become potential organ donors.

The call was made by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to coincide with Organ Donor Awareness Week 2011, which runs until April 9.

As part of the week, stands have been set-up in colleges nationwide where students can collect organ donor cards. Posters are also being displayed and special talks are being given on campuses nationwide to promote the benefits and importance of organ donation.

Students are also being encouraged to avail of the new organ donor ECard, which allows people to record their wishes via a smart phone application.

Last year saw a record fall in Irish organ donations, according to the Irish Kidney Association (IKA). Fifty-eight deceased organ donors led to 151 transplants. This represented a 35% fall in the number of donors compared with the previous year.

The IKA has voiced concerns that families of potential donors in hospital are not being approached because of staffing shortages and work pressures in the country’s intensive care units.

In response to this, the USI said that it is focused on raising awareness about the ongoing and increasing demand for organ donation and transplantation and to encourage students nationwide to carry an organ donor card.

“It is a sad fact that while medical science and surgical techniques have become so advanced, there are still hundreds of people on the organ transplant list. The number of organ donors in Ireland is on the decrease and this is something that we need to change,” commented USI president, Gary Redmond.

He noted that there are currently over 650 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

“Becoming an organ donor is a very selfless act, which allows sick people like these a chance to live healthy, fulfilling lives,” Mr Redmond added.

[Posted: Tue 05/04/2011 by Deborah Condon – www.irishhealth.com]

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