Despite an increase in organ donors' numbers, one in ten patients are dying before getting an organ for transplant. The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom revealed approximately 49,000 transplant patients spent the last 10 years waiting for organ donors to be available. Around 7,000 waitlisted patients are still uncertain about getting the organs they need.
Nearly 33 percent (one third) of the waitlisted patients have been anticipating a transplant for over two years. Around 500 waitlisted patients have been waiting for over five years. The figures are a stark contrast to the recent surge in organ donors. There were 13.1 million organ donor signatures in 2006, which increased to 21.1 million recently.
Based on statistics, over one in ten waitlisted patients will die prior to an organ transplant. Most of the resistance stems from the families of organ donors who passed away. Signing up as an organ donor is just the first step of a very long process.
"Even if your name is on the list, in the circumstance of a death, the family of the deceased has to agree to the organ donation. If they say no, then their wishes are honored, regardless of whether or not their loved one's name is on the organ donor register," said Sally Johnson, NHS blood and transplant spokeswoman.
An awareness campaign is set to let people know about the life-saving potential of being an organ donor. NHS is launching a 14-hour film featuring a daily routine in the life 41-year-old Simon Howell, a waitlisted transplant patient born with a severe kidney condition. The film also features his 41-year-old wife Anita and their two children, eight-year-old Sarah and three-year-old James.
Howell described the donor-to-patient procedure "an endless wait with no ETA." He stressed that the patients on top of the list continuously change based on which patient matched the available organ and who needs it most.
"I'd ask you to imagine how you'd feel if someone close to you was waiting for a transplant; their whole life on hold, hoping someone will donate to save them," added Johnson.