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Organ donors and families honoured

Bermuda's organ donors and their families were honoured last night at a special event.

Kerrie Casey, hospital relations co-ordinator for New England Donor Services, said that 26 people in Bermuda had donated organs over the past 15 years.

The organs — including 39 kidneys, 23 livers and nine hearts — were used to help save 87 lives.

Ms Casey added her own family had been touched by organ donation.

She said: “I was out one night with my mom. We were going shopping. She was behind the wheel and a half-second later she lost control.

“She was unconscious at the scene. She was brought to a trauma centre in Boston where she received immediate surgery, only for us to be told the outlook was still very grim.

“We hoped for the best over a weekend but, ultimately, we were faced with the worst. My mother was not going to survive.”

She and her family were approached by a representative of New England Donor Services, who asked about the possibility of organ donation.

Ms Casey said: “Mother was such a giving person that if we could give her the opportunity to give life to other people, we wanted to do that.

“We had never discussed organ donation as a family. It wasn't on my mom's driving licence, but we knew it was something she would want to do.”

The family later learnt that doctors had been able to use both of her mother's kidneys which went to two different women.

Ms Casey said she had not been able to meet the organ recipients but that the decision helped her family deal with the loss.

She added: “What has remained constant is the peace and comfort that my family feels knowing that my mom was able to save lives.

“It was a shock. She was 49. It was senseless and tragic, but her being able to give life has helped to heal my family tremendously.”

Dave Teune, clinical donation co-ordinator at New England Donor Services, said that Ms Casey's family was not the only one comforted by organ donation.

Mr Teune explained: “The benefits to the recipients are obvious, but when you see the other side, there is a legacy element.

“It doesn't take away the loss, but it changes it.”

He added that statistics showed that an organ transplant gave recipients 32 more years of life.

But he said that myths and misconceptions about organ donation discouraged people from signing up.

Mr Teune said: “The most common myth is that the hospital won't render care if they are on the list as an organ donor, but the reality is they don't call us until all options have been exhausted.

“There's also a misconception that people think they are too old. The oldest organ donor I have dealt with was 86. We were able to successfully recover her liver and transplant it into someone who was 65.”

Members of the Bermuda Organ Donor Association (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published November 03, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated November 03, 2017 at 7:24 am)

Organ donors and families honoured

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