Fourteen die in wait for transplant

FOURTEEN people in East Anglia have died in less than a year while waiting for an organ transplant, new figures reveal.Transplant operations in the region are at their lowest level in at least five years, with 351 patients still awaiting life-saving treatment.

FOURTEEN people in East Anglia have died in less than a year while waiting for an organ transplant, new figures reveal.

Transplant operations in the region are at their lowest level in at least five years, with 351 patients still awaiting life-saving treatment.

Last night, charity UK Transplant, issued an urgent plea for more people to help save lives by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Thousands of transplant patients around the country face an anxious wait each day for an organ donor to become available. In many cases an operation is their only hope of survival.

In the postcode areas of Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford, Norwich, Romford and Southend alone, 312 patients are awaiting kidney transplants, six need heart transplants, eight are waiting for lung transplants while three require heart and lung transplants.

A further seven people need pancreas operations, ten require kidney and pancreas operations, and five need liver transplants.

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Since April last year, 264 transplant operations have been carried out in these areas, the lowest number in at least five years. But in the same timeframe 14 people have died while waiting for a transplant.

A UK Transplant spokesperson said: “Last year, nearly 3,000 people were given a second chance in life thanks to a transplant.

“Sadly though, more than 400 people died waiting and many more will do so unless more people talk about their wishes to donate and join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

“We know that the majority of people in the UK support organ donation, yet the single biggest obstacle to more lives being saved through a transplant is the fact that four out of 10 families currently refuse permission for their loved one's organs to be donated.

“More than 734,000 people in and around East Anglia have already joined the register, which is wonderful news, but only through more people pledging the gift of life can we help the many thousands of people who currently need a life-saving transplant.”

Up to eight lives could be saved by a single donor with the main organs in the body, the heart, the two kidneys, liver, two lungs and bowel.

But a donor can enhance lots of lives substantially with tissue such as heart valves or corneas.

Each cornea donor could restore the sight of two people. Skin can be used to treat serious burn victims. Bone can help people suffering with bone cancer.

The spokesman added: “We know that many more people are willing to help, but just haven't got round to signing up. Many others already carry a donor card, but unless they turn this into a lasting record by joining the register and discussing their wishes with their family, those wishes may not be fulfilled.

“Only through more people pledging the gift of life can we help the many thousands of people who currently need a life-saving transplant.”

You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by contacting 0845 60 60 400 or by visiting www.uktransplant.org.uk .

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