Nine Residents Died Waiting For Transplants Amid Shortage Of Donors

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Nine Residents Died Waiting For Transplants Amid Shortage Of Donors

Figures show only 48% of borough registered compared to 66% across the UK

Donor card goes pink as will some landmarks during Organ Donation Week

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Approximately 48% (152,934) of residents in the borough were registered as organ donors in May 2018 - this is below the London average of 59% and way below the UK average of 66%. London had the lowest regional consent rate in England.

Recent figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant, show that nine residents in the borough died whilst waiting for transplants in the past five years, but they also highlight that eighteen residents received transplants last year (2017/18).

Families in Greater London are being urged to talk during Organ Donation Week (September 3 to 9) as new figures show 387 people from the area have died waiting for a transplant in the last five years.

Tragically, despite the fact more and more people are supporting the donation of their loved one’s organs, there is still an urgent need for more people to donate. NHS Blood and Transplant is now urging more people in London to tell their families that they want to save lives through organ donation.

17-year-old Tania Mortimer-Fennell

Tania Mortimer-Fennell from Ham, Richmond died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage on Mother’s Day 2012 aged just 17. Tania’s family had talked openly about organ donation as mum Caroline, a senior HR Manager, explains, "Tania knew there would be a high chance that she may need a heart transplant after she was born with congenital heart defects meaning that her arteries were reversed, and her heart was on the opposite side of the body. She felt that as she would be happy to receive an organ transplant, she was also happy to donate. Be an organ donor was written on her bucket list."

Tania donated her kidneys, liver and lungs. Her liver went to four-year-old Tara from Limerick, Ireland who had been ill since birth. Mum Caroline received a letter from Tara’s parents thanking her for giving their daughter a future. The two families agreed to meet up and are now in regular contact with mum Caroline supporting medal-winning Tara in two Transplant Games.

Caroline, explains, "As a mother you are naturally very scared and protective of your child but to know that another family doesn’t have to go through the same grief after losing a loved one waiting for a transplant, that makes donation special and has brought us great comfort."

Although the number of donors is increasing, and the waiting lists are reducing, right now there are around 6,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant across the UK.

During Organ Donation Week, the NHS is urging families to talk about donation with the message ‘Words Save Lives’. Councils and organisations around the country are lighting prominent buildings pink, which is the colour of the modern donor card, in support of the country’s organ donation campaign.

Landmarks taking part include London’s iconic One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, which will have a pink band on its roof lit from September 4 to 7.

Rachel Rowson, Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation Team Manager covering London hospitals for NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “It’s tragic that so many people from London have died waiting for a transplant – what is shocking is that many of those lives could have been saved, had more families agreed to donate organs. People are dying every day because some families are not talking about donation. We need more families in London to say yes to organ donation, so that more lives can be saved.

“We all know that organ donation legislation will change to a deemed consent system in England and Scotland in future years but the harsh fact is people are dying right now waiting for an organ and it will still be important for people to know your decision. We don’t want people to die because of a fatal complacency that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too.

Nationally, around three people die a day in need of an organ. Only a small percentage of people die in circumstances where they can donate, so every donor is precious. Millions of people are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register, join them today and tell your family you want to save lives. Register at

Rachel Rowson adds, “Please, let your family know your decision and ask them if they want to be donors. Don’t leave your family guessing what you would have wanted to happen. We know that many families feel enormous pride and comfort at knowing that their relative went on to save lives through the gift of organ donation.”

September 3, 2018