A consultant at Forth Valley Royal Hospital , whose family have both donated and received organs for transplant, is appealing to people to sign the organ donor register.
Dr Helen Tyler, who works in intensive care, says the death of her cousin helped save the life of an 19 year old. Meanwhile her father in-law benefitted from two kidney transplants.
Helen’s cousin Caroline was in her first year at medical school when Helen was in her final year at the same university. Sadly Caroline stepped out on to the street and was hit by a lorry. She never regained consciousness. Her heart was donated to a student the same age, and both her kidneys and liver were also given for transplant.
Dr Tyler explained: “It was in line with her wishes and gave her family the knowledge they had done one last thing for her. She had been training to be a doctor and always wanted to help someone and through donating her organs they believed she had achieved that. It gave them some sort of hope that they could take from a really devastating event.”
The kidney transplants received by Dr Tyler’s father in law helped extend his life. The first gave him ten years free from dialysis and allowed him to return to work and spend time with his family. When he received his second transplant he was very ill and his recovery process was different but every month it gave him precious extra time.
“I think we are very bad at discussing death” explained Helen. “It’s amazing that some patients haven’t talked about resuscitation or donation when they are seriously ill. People generally are very superstitious – they think if they talk about death it will happen.”
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonationscotland.org