DOCTORS are urging Scots to sign up to the Organ Donor Register during National Transplant Week (7-13 September 2015) and to discuss their wishes with those closest to them.
In Scotland, around 530 people are currently on the transplant waiting list.
Meanwhile, repeated studies show that up to 90% of the population supports organ donation, yet only 41% of us have signed up to the organ donor register.
The BMA has long advocated for a shift to a opt-out system, which they say could save or transform thousands of lives.
Dr Sue Robertson, a renal physician and member of the BMA’s Scottish Council, said: “Organ transplantation is an area that has seen amazing medical achievements but has not yet reached its full life-saving and life-transforming potential. As doctors it is difficult to see our patients dying and suffering when their lives could be saved or dramatically improved by a transplant.
“It is important that an individual’s views on organ donation are taken into account following their death. A ‘soft’ opt-out system would better reflect the views of the Scottish people.”
Gill Hollis, a lung transplant recipient, added: “I wouldn’t be here today without my transplant, so I am incredibly grateful to my donor family; their generosity saved my life. But I was one of the lucky ones – I received my transplant in time.
“I’ve also supported people through the waiting process who did not receive an organ in time, and that’s been heartbreaking. So you can see why I feel passionately about initiatives to address the organ shortage. An opt-out system would mean that more people could have their lives saved and transformed.”
“In the meantime, however, it is vital that people talk to their loved ones about their wishes and discuss openly their views on organ donation so that, if the time comes, they can make a decision which reflects the individual’s wishes.”