Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.43 7 May 2021


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A woman waiting on a kidney transplant has said an 'opt-out/opt-in' system for organ donation would change her life.

A consultation on the issue was initially launched in 2013, with a later commitment to bring in a system by 2018.

The general scheme of a bill was then published in 2019.

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The Human Tissue Bill was to regulate the removal, retention, storage, use and disposal of human tissue from deceased persons.

However no action has since been taken.

Lorna McSwiggan is an emergency nurse and mother of two, who is waiting on a kidney transplant.

She told The Hard Shoulder it would be life-changing for those on the list for transplants.

"It would be just everything, I'd get my life back, I wouldn't be tired all the time.

"I'd have more time with the kids, I wouldn't have to go in for my dialysis sessions multiple times a week.

"I'd be able to plan ahead, to have more of a life".

She said she has to have three hour sessions of dialysis twice a week.

"I've been on dialysis since June 2019 and I've been active on the list since March 2020.

"I have a fistula - I had surgery on my arm that connected the artery to the vein.

"So twice a week I go in and I have two needles go in - one into the vein, one the artery - and I have a three hour session.

"It's just to filter and clean all the toxins out of the blood, and to keep me here, keep me alive.

"Long-term it's not really an option; it is quite strenuous on the heart and it can cause a number of other complications.

"The sooner you get a transplant, the better".

'You lie awake at night'

Lorna said it is both something she tries to not think about, and actively worries about.

"I have two young children, so it's not really an option to just sit and worry about it - you have to get on with it

"But you do worry about it: you lie awake at night worrying about it, and hoping that you're going to be here to see them grow up".

And she said often times, families of potential donors can opt not to donate any organs.

"I think it's just so important to have both opt-out and opt-in.

"With an opt-out legislation coming in, it will still fall back on the next of kin in the case of whether or not to donate their loved ones' organs.

"Quite often in a highly-charged, very emotional and stressful situation the family's approach regarding organ donation - and if they haven't had that conversation, they don't know what their loved one might want.

"Sadly that can quite often result in a 'No'.

"So I think it's so important to make it very clear both having the opt-out and also the opt-in, it just makes it much clearer for everyone.

"And makes the decision based on the wishes of the potential donor much clearer."

'I'd get my life back' - Woman waiting on kidney transplant appeals for organ donation system

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Lorna McSwiggan. Picture via @LornaMcswiggan on Twitter

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Donation System Kidney Transplant Lorna McSwiggan Opt-out Organ Donation System The Hard Shoulder

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