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Hospital Trust marks Organ Donation Week with new sculpture

24 September 2021

A new sculpture has been installed at York Hospital to mark Organ Donation Week and all the families, both past and present, who have been involved in the amazing gift of organ donation.  

It has been designed to encourage a moment of reflection for staff, visitors and patients, creating a centre piece for the wellbeing garden space.  

The sculpture, by local artist Dan Savage and funded by York Teaching Hospital Charity, features birds and is designed as a continuation of the Wings of Hope sculptures at York and Scarborough hospitals. 

Dr Rob Ferguson, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation commissioned the artwork: “This sculpture is a way of thanking and recognising those who have made that decision for themselves and for their family that they wish their organs to be donated, to go on to potentially save up to nine lives. 

“The idea of the birds representing the movement of organs from donor to recipient and the inspiring words will also hopefully raise awareness around organ donation."

The organ donation team at the Trust supports families with their decisions, at what can be a difficult time. 

Rachel Jones, Specialist Nurse for the team said:  “We hope the artwork inspires and encourages people to talk about organ donation, discuss wishes and become more informed to register their decisions on the NHS Organ Donation Register.”

Organ Donation sculpture - Rachel

The Trust is part of the network that supports organ donation regionally. This year the focus for Organ Donation Week is on young people to inspire millions of family conversations and registrations for organ and tissue donation. 

The law around organ donation changed in England in May 2020 and all adults are now considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family that they don’t want to donate.

Rachel Jones, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, said: “This year, organ donation has also been added to the National Curriculum for the first time, so family members, whatever their age, are being encouraged to get together to talk about their own organ donation decisions.”

Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 nationally the 12 organ donation teams in the UK facilitated 1,534 agreeing to organ donation which resulted in 1,179 proceeding donors. Regionally 130 consents resulted in 98 proceeding donors.

At the Trust the organ donation team consented five donors with four of them proceeding resulting in seven organs transplanted.

Dr Rob Ferguson, added: “We are very proud of the part we play in this huge network particularly as this was against the backdrop of a global pandemic.  There are many reasons why potential donors can be declined but the really important thing is that last year we had 52 referrals within our hospitals where our team was able to assess the suitability of these patients as a donor. The more awareness we have about making referrals in our hospitals, the less likely we are to miss opportunities and ultimately save more lives.

“Even now the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead. It remains so important to talk to your families and ensure they know what you would want to happen. We really need these conversations to take place in families and within our own hospitals so that everyone is clear should the situation arise.” 

Organ donation sculpture - group photo

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