Consultant Vascular Surgeon
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
“I joined the register many years ago. I think some people avoid joining the register because they may be a bit ‘squeamish’ at the thought, but for me it always seemed an obvious thing to do.”
Like most people Paul and his family’s involvement with the organ donor register was unexpected.
“Almost nine years ago my dad and I returned home from hill walking to find my mum unconscious in her bed. She was taken immediately to the Western General, where she was found to have had a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, from which she would not survive.
“My family had previously had numerous dinner-table conversations [about organ donation] so my brother, father and myself asked the nursing team whether organ donation might be possible. Once we discussed this with the transplant coordinator my mother was than able to donate her kidneys and liver.
“We subsequently received anonymised information, two letters from the kidney recipients and information about the liver recipient. The people who received my mum’s kidneys had their lives transformed, and were no longer tied to dialysis three times a week. Their letters were very touching, and the people were eternally grateful.
“We also heard that my mother’s liver was donated to a young child, who was extremely unwell, and would have died within a few hours, if it were not for a transplant. Being the father of six children myself, it brings a lump to my throat just thinking about this.
“These positive notes gave my family some focus during the bereavement process, which is always going to be a difficult time.
“If you are able to sign up to the register it's the most generous gift you can give.”