Organ Donation Week 2019: Queen’s Hospital doctor urges organ donors to make family aware of their wishes

Dr Maurice Smith outside Queen's Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford. Picture: BHRUT

Dr Maurice Smith outside Queen's Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford. Picture: BHRUT - Credit: Archant

As part of Organ Donation Week 2019, a doctor at the NHS hospital trust which runs Queen’s and King George Hospitals is urging would-be organ donors to make sure their families are aware of their intentions.

Maurice Smith, who chairs the Organ Donation Committee at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), has encouraged those who want to donate their organs to ensure their family is aware of their wishes.

Dr Smith, a consultant geriatrician at BHRUT - which runs Queen's Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford and King George Hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes -, spoke out to mark Organ Donation Week this week.

He said: "By donating your organs you can help, and potentially save the lives of, between one to nine people.

"It's not just the main organs you can donate; you can also give your corneas, skin and bone too.

"A timely transplant can give extremely poorly patients their lives back - it can ease their suffering and they can get back to work and be with their families.

"If you do want to donate your organs when you die, the best thing you can do, whether you're on the register or not, is tell your family.

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"That will make it so much easier for them at the end, to know it's what you wanted."

Dr Smith added that the main issue when it comes to organ donation is gaining consent from families, especially in cases where they're not sure whether it's what their loved one wanted.

He also welcomed new legislation, which will come into force next spring, whereby people will need to opt out of being an organ donor, rather than opting in via the organ donation register.

Dr Smith, who has chaired the Trust's Organ Donation Committee for the last five years, added: "The most important thing we can do is raise awareness of the positive impact of organ donation."

He first became interested in organ donation when, as a trainee doctor in Liverpool almost 40 years ago, he worked with patients with chronic renal failure, quickly realising that organ transplants were much more the answer for them than dialysis.

BHRUT marked Organ Donation Week with information stalls at Queen's Hospital, where staff from the Organ Donation team, as well a donor recipients, were able to speak to staff, patients and visitors and answer any of their questions.