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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 03:57 GMT 04:57 UK
'I'm waiting for a transplant'
Dialysis machine
Dialysis can be done at hospital or at home

Changes to the Human Tissue Act will give priority to the wishes of the 13.5 million people on the NHS Organ Donor Register and others who have made it clear they would like their organs to be donated in the event of their death.

For Sian Arthur, diagnosed with end-stage renal failure, the wait for a donation could be at least two years.

She has been on the list for a kidney transplant since March 2006, but in the meantime has to undergo dialysis daily.

The 29-year-old south Londoner has undergone hemodialysis, which is done at the hospital three times a week, and now performs peritoneal dialysis at home by herself.

"I have got this machine which I go on every night for nine hours so I have to set it up before I go to bed. It takes about 20 minutes and I have to keep it on all through the night.

"It is quite a bind having to do dialysis every day. I use 12 litres of fluid a night so I would have to carry that around with me if I went anywhere.

I think it's appalling that someone's decision to donate could be overridden by others
Sian Arthur
Awaiting transplant

"It means that I can't be spontaneous. I can't go away for the weekend."

Associated high blood pressure means she has to take vitamin D tablets.

Her mother is having tests to see if she is a suitable match for donation.

"If I was to get one from the list I would not have to put my mum through a major operation. She would not have to go through the rest of her life with just one kidney," Ms Arthur said.

"It is quite horrible that I am waiting for something bad to happen to someone else. That is quite difficult," she added.

Until now the wishes of one in 10 people registered to donate are overruled by their families exercising their legal right to overrule those wishes, according to UK Transplant.

But the trainee teacher said: "It's appalling that someone's decision to donate could be overridden by others.

Organs from 765 dead people used in 2,196 transplants
1,799 kidney transplants. 594 from friend or relative
126 pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas transplants
586 liver transplants
262 heart transplants
2,503 people had sight restored through cornea transplant
13,122,056 on NHS Organ Donor Register by March 2006
Source: UK Transplant

"I understand the emotions involved but I think it's a great shame that people's wishes are overridden by their families and I'm glad that the law is changing," she added.

She welcomed the law change that allows living donors, saying it was a "really good idea".

"I have been told that the success rates for living donors is a lot higher. You can also plan when it happens so the patient will be in good health.

"With living donation, people will not have to wait so long, it can be done immediately.

"Giving people who are not related to you the chance to donate will make a big difference because they are people who feel very strongly about it but have not been able to do it under the current system.

"The more people willing to donate the fewer people are going to have to wait a really, really long time on the list."

Q&A: Human Tissue Act
30 Aug 06 |  Health

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