Organ donors should tell loved ones their wishes so transplants are approved: NGO

On Tuesday a group of patients on the organ donor waiting list called on Netherlands residents to tell their loved ones whether or not they want their organs donated after death. "It is a decision with which you do not want to unwittingly saddle your loved ones at a difficult moment," said 48-year-old Peter, who is waiting for a heart, on the Nierstichting website.

According to the Nierstichting, the foundation for kidney patients, half of Dutch do not discuss their donor wishes with their loved ones. This results in loved ones facing a difficult decision at a stressful moment which could lead to them inadvertently reversing the a patient's organ donation at the last minute. When relatives face doubt, almost three quarters will say reject donation, the foundation said. 

This discussion only takes a minute and can change someone's life, the patients said. Marike Lub, psychologist at the Dutch transplantation foundation NTS, supports the patients' call. On the campaign website, she gives advice about how to start this conversation with your loved ones. Patients waiting for an organ also tell their story. 

"Every year it is too late for about 250 people on the waiting list for a donor organ: they die or their condition deteriorates so much that they are no longer transplantable", said Tom Oostrom of the Kidney foundation. By telling your loved ones what you want, your wishes have a better chance of being adhered to, and the waiting list for donor organs can decrease. 

Last year 250 people in the Netherlands donated their organs after death, 500 living people donated a kidney, and 22 people donated a piece of their liver. A total of 769 organs were transplanted in the Netherlands in 2019. On January 1st of this year, 1,271 people were on the waiting list for organ donation. 

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