Will They Respect My Body After I Am Dead?

February 25, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

NHSBT online survey reveals current barriers to registration on the NHS Organ Donor Register

Concern about the level of respect given to a deceased person’s body and whether doctors would make every possible effort to help a patient if they were identified as a potential organ donor top the list of reasons given for not joining the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR). These are among the findings of an online survey conducted through NHS Blood and Transplant’s (NHSBT) websites.

Over 5,000 people responded to the survey, with 90% supporting organ donation a nd transplantation. Of those who said they were undecided or against joining the ODR, more than half said they were worried about how their body would be treated after death.

Dr Paul Murphy, an Intensive Care Consultant in Leeds and NHSBT’s National Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, said: “This survey shows that there may be questions playing on people’s minds to which they need answers and reassurance.

“I cannot tell you just how much respect and honour my staff have for patients who donate organs after their death. Donors, and their families, are very special to us, and we do everything that we can to maintain an individual’s dignity throughout – why would we do any less when you consider the tremendous gift that they are making ?

“As a society , we need to discuss issues about death and donation more openly. It is only through public debate that we can resolve some of these concerns and give people the confidence to join the Organ Donor Register.”

The survey also found that:

– More than half (against or undecided) want more information about what happens to the body after death.

– Half want more reassurance that doctors will give best possible care/every effort to save the lives of donors.

– 60% of those undecided/against organ donation are unsure (rather than against) about registering.

– The most common reason for not wanting to register is to avoid thinking about dying.

– Amongst those undecided or against, more than 50% are unsure whether doctors give donors the same level of care, or believe they do not.

Dr Murphy added: “As an intensive care doctor, I can give the public my absolute assurance that we always have – and we always will – do everything we can to save the lives of our patients, and that we have particular safeguards in place to ensure that staff who may be subsequently involved in transplantation have no involvement in the care of a patient who might become a donor when they die. Donation only becomes an option that we consider when death is inevitable, but it does need to become accepted as a normal part of end of life care if life is to go on for others when people die.”

More than a quarter – 26% of the UK population – have joined the NHS ODR pledging their organs for transplant after their death , but the number waiting for the call telling them that a life-saving organ has been found for them has risen to almost 8,000 and continues to steadily increase.

Around 3,000 organ transplants take place in this country every year, but during the same period approximately 1,000 people – 3 a day – die while waiting because of the shortage of donated organs.

Joining the Register is easy, call the Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400, go online http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk or text GIVE to 84118. Alternatively, write to NHSBT, Fox Den Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, BS34 8RR


– The NHS Organ Donor Register is a confidential database used to identify those who have registered and indicated that they wish to be organ and/or tissue donors in the event of their death. It can be accessed by authorised medical staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to establish an individual’s wishes on donation.

– Last year 3,238 organ transplants were carried out in the UK , thanks to the generosity of 1,662 deceased and living donors – the highest on record – but the need for transplants is increasing faster than the number being performed.

– NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS. It is the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Its remit also includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS.

UK Transplant

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]


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