Shock at rise in death toll of those waiting for kidney transplants

MORE THAN 50 people died waiting for kidney transplants in Yorkshire last year, prompting campaigners to call for more organ donors to come forward.

Victoria Garland from Barnsley has spent 11 years on the kidney transplant list.
Victoria Garland from Barnsley has spent 11 years on the kidney transplant list.

Statistics from the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) authority show that 51 patients passed away in need of a transplant in the region between April last year and this month - up from 48 during 2012/2013. Cases include those who have deteriorated so badly they have been removed from the waiting list because they are unfit to undergo surgery.

With 765 people living in Yorkshire in need of a kidney and just 30 per cent of residents registered as an organ donor, patients have spoken of the need for a change in attitude to prevent more lives being lost.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A rise in altruistic donation - where a living person gives a kidney to a stranger - has been held up as a solution to the problem.

Reverend Simon Swailes, aged 62, of Kingston upon Hull, and Sam Nagy, 21, of Huddersfield are among the handful of people in Yorkshire who have given a kidney through altruistic donation since the NHS brought in new rules seven years ago. Both have backed the call for more people in Yorkshire to consider the procedure, or join the organ donor register.

Rev Swailes, who had surgery to remove his kidney at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds in 2010, said: “As minister of a church I knew a lot of people who had the problem. I read an article about a surgeon who did it and

“There is a recovery process, it took around six weeks and it was uncomfortable and painful, but since then I’ve had no problems. I’m fit and healthy and don’t feel different.

“I don’t think people realise that you can survive with one, even half a kidney.”

Mr Nagy was just 19 when he donated his kidney. After the operation an anonymous letter informed the fitness fanatic he had saved the life of a man in his mid-twenties.

He said: “Life hasn’t changed, it is as it was for me.

“We need to educate people on donation - when you look at the amount of patients dying every year it can make such a difference.”

At the beginning of this month, 1,594,113 people residing in the Yorkshire postcode area were on the UK Organ Donor Register. The estimated overall population is 5.3million.

A spokeswoman for the NHSBT said: “Living donation is highly successful but not everyone has someone who can donate to them and only some organs can be donated from a living person.

Patients waiting for a transplant rely heavily on the generosity of people donating their organs after their death in order to offer them the chance of a transplant.

“With around 10,000 people needing an organ transplant in the UK and three people dying every day because there are not enough organs available, it’s vital that people show their support for organ donation by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling their families about their decision.”