More than 200 people had life-saving transplants in 2023

Sixty-four donors from hospitals around New Zealand donated organs and tissues for transplantation in 2023.

Those donations meant more than 200 people received life-saving kidney, liver, lung or heart transplants, Organ Donation New Zealand clinical director Joanne Ritchie said.

Organ Donation New Zealand has released its annual report for 2023 and wanted to encourage people to have conversations with their family about organ donation as the need exceeded available donors.

A single donor could help six or sometimes more recipients, Ritchie told RNZ’s Nights, adding that the most donated organ was kidneys.

Organs can only be donated under specific circumstances, she said.

“You have to die in an intensive care unit on a breathing machine in one of any of the intensive care units in New Zealand. So that cuts out quite a few people dying in New Zealand.”

Intensive care units are the only places in New Zealand with organ preserving capabilities, she said.

“Such as being on a ventilator, having medication to keep the blood pressure up, that that allows the organs to be in the best possible situation for them to be donated.”

Ritchie wanted to urge New Zealanders to make their wishes known to family about organ donation.

“It might be as simple as, I’ve ticked donor on my driver’s license, I’d really like to talk about that with you.”

There were two different pathways for deceased organ donation in New Zealand, she said.

“One is after what we loosely call brain death, where the brain has had an incredible insult or injury so much so, there is no further blood flow to the brain. And when that occurs the patient has died. But their heart is still kept beating just by the fact that they are on a breathing machine.”

The second way was where circulation had ceased, she said.

The disparity between donors and those awaiting transplant was a global problem, she said.

“That is because there is just such a huge need and donors come from a very specific set of circumstances.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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