Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Hospital's plea for organ donors

Liver transplant
More than 10,000 people are currently in need of a transplant

Only 27% of Southampton residents are registered organ donors, figures show.

Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust has started a campaign to encourage more people in the South East to become organ and tissue donors.

More the 500 people in the region are currently awaiting transplants and a shortage of donor organs has led to 11 deaths this year, the trust said.

Since April, 12 Southampton General Hospital patients who gave organs after dying have saved 41 lives, it added.

Skin donation

Trish Collins, the trust's donor transplant co-ordinator, said: "We are striving to make donation following the death of a patient a routine rather than an unusual event, and offer all families the option of organ and tissue donation.

"Medical staff and patients who have received organs cannot emphasise enough just how vital donation is to the health service, and we urgently need to get this message across to everyone."

She added: "Many patients have enhanced the life of others through tissue donation, which includes giving the gift of sight through eye donation and enabling severely burned patients to have much needed skin grafts through skin donation."

The trust's eye unit is believed to be one of only 10 national eye retrieval centres.

"Unlike other organs, which must be donated immediately, corneas can be donated up to 24 hours after death and there is no upper age limit on corneal donation," a trust spokesman said.

An average of three patients die every day in the UK while waiting to receive an organ and more than 10,000 people are currently in need of a transplant, figures reveal.

Research published last week shows 96% of people would accept an organ if in need of one, yet only a fraction of that number are signed up to donate.

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