Amy Miller's mom wants organ donor referrals to be mandatory

2015-12-02 08:03
Amy Miller (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Amy Miller (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Jenna Lowe's story encourages South Africans to become organ donors

2015-06-09 13:48

20-year-old Jenna Lowe passed away on Monday, six months after receiving a bilateral lung transplant. During her life, she lobbied for South Africans to become organ donors. Watch.WATCH

Durban – A mother, who lost her 5-year-old daughter to a rare heart condition, hopes to take an online petition to the ministry of health to make it mandatory for doctors to inform the Organ Donor Foundation when a patient dies.

Natasha Miller, the mother of Amy Miller, told News24 on Tuesday she hoped, along with the Heart Kids Foundation, to make it possible for families to "have the option to give the gift of life".

- Read: SA needs organ donors

"Currently, if someone passes on, it is not mandatory for a doctor to inform the organ foundation at all. We find that if doctors are emotional or families are too grief stricken to think about organ donation, a life that could be saved is forgotten.

"If we make it mandatory for the organ foundation to be contacted, the option can be given. We are not trying to force people to donate organs, but just give them the choice to allow their loved one to potentially give life to another."

Among many of the proposals, the petition states that trained personnel could have end-of-life conversations with the next of kin in a sensitive and compassionate manner. It also says that the religious and cultural beliefs of the next of kin, who may choose not to donate, will also be "respected and adhered to".

The petition is not specific to those who are registered organ donors, but instead aims to afford all citizens with the option of donation. 

According to the petition on www.heartkids.org, statistics also show that there could be one potential donor per hospital per day in South Africa.

The petition goes on to say that almost 5 000 recipients are waiting for life-saving organs and up to 30 000 recipients are waiting for tissue such as corneas and bone transplants.

- Health24: Become an organ donor

"Amy was not the only awaiting recipient who died in 2015. While the South African statistics are not available we know that worldwide every 16 minutes a new name is added to the organ transplant waiting list.

"One donation of organs and tissues can provide seven people with life-saving organs and 20 people with quality enhancing tissues. Each day about 57 people worldwide receive organ transplants, while 13 die waiting for a possible gift of life,” the petition said.

Amy’s story was widely publicised after she was diagnosed with complex cardiac abnormalities before birth. She had survived three open heart surgeries - having her first operation at six days old and the next when she was just four months.

- To sign the petition visit http://heartkids.co.za/index.php/2015/11/25/petition-mandatory-potential-organ-donor-referral/

Read more on:    durban  |  health

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