Chris Rudgewrites of the need to increase donors for organ transplants, yet 20 years ago the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital was successfully doing this and the process was stopped.
I was a junior staff nurse on the intensive care unit there, which ran a protocol called 'elective ventilation'. Relatives of patients admitted to the hospital with severe cerebral haemorrhages, and for whom the prognosis was non-survival, were asked if they would consider donating the organs. If the answer was yes, the patient was admitted, bed availability permitting, pending respiratory arrest. The patient would then be ventilated until the organs were harvested.
As far as I recall the hospital did increase the number of renal patients receiving transplanted organs, but some time after I had moved on I heard the practice had stopped. Maybe some of your correspondents can elucidate on this?
I also, on a personal level, have concerns about the drive to increase 'living donor' transplants, as there is so much potential for the emotional blackmail of the renal patient's family and friends.
Gillian Powter, specialist transfusion nurse, Wycombe Hospital, Buckinghamshire.