Coffs Harbour locals Paul Franklin, who is on the waiting list for a new heart, and heart transplant recipient Scott McLoughlin. Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
Coffs Harbour locals Paul Franklin, who is on the waiting list for a new heart, and heart transplant recipient Scott McLoughlin. Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Have a chat that can save lives

THE Mid North Coast Local Health District Board held a planning and awareness forum about organ and tissue donation at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus yesterday as part of DonateLife Week.

Organ donor families, transplant recipients, patients on organ donor waiting lists and donation medical specialists attended the to chat to local media about the need for more people to sign up to the Australian Organ Donor Register.

MNCLHD donation specialist, Dr Michael Sutherland said one of the biggest misconceptions about organ donation is that potential donors feel what he described as "icky" about organ donation because it deals with the touchy subject of death to a certain extent.

"We reassure them don't feel icky, you should feel wonderful that you've saved a life, how many times in your life can you save a life? It's a great feeling and it's not only that lives are saved by transplantation it's this whole idea of transforming your life," he said.

Coffs local, Scott McLaughlin is living proof of the benefits of organ donation after he received a heart transplant last year after decades of suffering from a genetic heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

"Having the transplant actually took away a sort of a black spot over the family," he said.

Dr Sutherland explained the cost of alternative treatments such as renal dialysis are a cost burden on the health sector and can be improved by donation.

"Cost considerations can be improved by donation but I tend to think outside the arena of costs. These are people who are suffering and who are dying, this should be a national priority, as well as a local priority as well as a personal priority."

Chair of the Mid North Coast Local Health District Board, Warren Grimshaw AM, said it's "absolutely critical" that people sign up to the national organ donation register to continue to save local lives across the region.

"It's important that we maintain the enthusiasm and maintain the commitment to that outcome and the mid north coast is absolutely committed to that in terms of its policy direction," he said.

For more information about signing up to the regisiter visit donatelife.gov.au



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