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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
The ultimate life-changing gift
Two surgeons conducting a liver transplant
Transplants can transform the lives of those with organ failure
Calls for a system of "presumed consent" to be introduced to tackle chronic shortages of organs has, unsurprisingly, found favour with those who have been on the receiving end of such a donation.

England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson's recommendation is welcomed by Jeffrey Farr, 43, an engineer from Blakeney in Gloucestershire, who waited a year for a kidney before receiving one two weeks ago.

Mr Farr says he "wouldn't recommend" his time spent on dialysis - or at least, its side-effects, as it actually was necessary and saved his life.

"Before my transplant I had been on both available types of dialysis. Peritoneal is done at home and means you have a tube hanging out of your belly.

"It's prone to infection which is mind bogglingly painful. I've had it twice.

"Haemodialysis is when you have to go to hospital and they strap you to a machine the size of a fridge.

"You can't move for four hours and you feel totally drained."

Although the treatment is a type of renal replacement therapy used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function, it can have serious side-effects.

Having an opt in system is emotionally kinder on the relatives

"When you're on dialysis you can get massive, massive gout. I had it in both legs and I couldn't move.

"Dialysis makes you feel unwell, it makes you tired all the time."

Following his transplant at Southmead Hospital in Bristol two weeks ago, Mr Farr says his health has been transformed, along with his life.

"I'm now free to do what I want, although I'm still off work. I'm still coming to terms with not having to do dialysis. Every day I'm getting better and better.

"My head and skin has cleared up, because I had cirrhosis and also my concentration was poor, I couldn't focus on anything for long.

"It's like the ultimate detox."

'Dying and suffering'

Mr Farr says he was "lucky" to receive his kidney after a year because the average waiting time for a kidney transplant is double that.

"There are thousands of people waiting for a transplant and someone dies every day while waiting. It's outrageous.

"The doctors approach a family who have just watched someone die, and then ask them if they can have their body parts."

A system of presumed consent would be "emotionally kinder on the relatives", Mr Farr says.

"It would save them from the shock of a doctor approaching them," he adds.

And it would take away the need for people to find time to register their details on the organ donation register - even if they would be willing donors.

"It's not the highest priority in everybody's life to think about when they're going to die and what's going to happen to them afterwards - it's not something you go around thinking about day in, day out.

"It might occur to you now and again but how many people actually stop to take the time out to register, even if they are perfectly happy to donate their organs?

"But if they change the law for this, the consequences for people who are waiting for transplants is completely and utterly life transforming.

"The current system is not working. People are dying and suffering for no good reason. In fact, it's sick."




SEE ALSO
Everyone 'should donate organs'
17 Jul 07 |  Health
Transplants come under scrutiny
17 Jan 07 |  Health

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