Organ Donation Week is an essential event that raises awareness about the critical need for organ donation to save lives and improve the quality of life for countless individuals awaiting transplants. One of the transplant needs revolves around liver donations and liver transplant procedures.
The Liver Transplant Predicament:
The liver is a vital organ responsible for filtering toxins, aiding digestion, and storing energy. When liver function becomes severely compromised due to diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, or liver cancer, a liver transplant can be the only life-saving option. The average waiting time in the UK for a liver transplant is 3-4 months.(1)
In the first 9 months of 2022-2023, there were been a total of 186 organ donors from Hospitals or Boards across Scotland which included 58 livers(2). There are consistently 35-50 patients in Scotland waiting for a liver transplant. However, this number is increasing and the number of liver donations is not(3).
The Power of Organ Donation and Empowering Change:
Organ Donation Week serves as a reminder of the incredible gift that organ donors provide – a chance at life for those in need. A single organ donor can save up to eight lives, and when it comes to liver donation, one donor can potentially help two individuals by splitting their liver for transplantation. Liver donations can come from both deceased and living patients (3).
Organ Donation Week provides an opportunity for individuals to become educated about organ donation. By spreading awareness through social media, community events, and public discussions, more people can understand the importance of this life-saving cause.
In Scotland, there was a new organ donation system introduced in March 2021 commonly known as the opt our scheme. The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019 provides for a system of deemed authorisation for organ and tissue donation for transplantation purposes(4). The NHS has also created a Live Donor Liver Transplantation Booklet (PDF) for people who are curious about the prospect of becoming a live liver donor(3).
Organ Donation Week is a time to unite as a community and advocate for increased organ donation, especially concerning the critical need for liver transplants. By raising awareness, we can make a difference in the lives of countless individuals awaiting a second chance at life. Together, we have the power to save lives and create a brighter future for those in need of liver transplants. Be an organ donor, and be a hero!
If you are interested in your liver health, take the first step and book your liver health assessment here!
- Organ transplantation – NHS Blood and Transplant. How long is the wait for a liver?[online] Available at: https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/organ-transplantation/liver/receiving-a-liver/how-long-is-the-wait-for-a-liver/#:~:text=What%20is%20the%20average%20wait [Accessed 31 Jul. 2023].
- Scottish Donation and Transplant Group meeting – written updates: March 2023. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-donation-and-transplant-group-meeting-written-updates-march-2023/ [Accessed 31 Jul. 2023].
- Liver Transplant – Edinburgh Transplant Centre. [online] Available at: https://edinburghtransplant.org/transplants/liver-transplant/ [Accessed 31 Jul. 2023].
- Organ Donation Scotland. Facts about the law change and donation. [online] Available at: https://www.organdonation.scot/facts-about-law-change-and-donation [Accessed 31 Jul. 2023].