Liver transplant: Lorna's story 

Lorna had a liver transplant in 2009. In this video, she shares her experience of having to wait for the right donor.

Waiting for a liver transplant

Transcript of Liver transplant: Lorna's story

I became jaundiced at the age of 15.

And over the years, with different types of medication,

it just gradually seemed to get worse.

There's different types of hepatitis, obviously,

but the one that I had is to do with the breakdown of the actual liver.

Basically, it had gone to 40% of the liver actually working.

And they thought, "We can't afford for it to get any less than that."

So they thought, "Well, it's gone far enough really."

"We'll put you on a transplant list."

At the present time in the UK

there are just under 8,000 people awaiting an organ transplant.

Currently, we just do not have enough donors.

For kidney transplantation you have kidney dialysis,

but life on dialysis for the vast majority is miserable.

If you take liver transplantation, for example,

nearly one in five people listed and awaiting a transplant

will die before a liver become available.

I was, obviously, in and out of hospital.

It wasn't really a nice time for me because I felt really unwell.

People when they're waiting for an organ transplant,

life almost is on hold.

It's more existing rather than enjoying a high quality life.

We don't know when an organ will become available for an individual.

And it's not only hard for the person involved,

but it's also hard on the family.

Well, basically, just the chance to live on,

because beforehand I was thinking,

"Alright then, if the worst comes to the worst,

I'm going to leave behind my daughter, my granddaughter,

and the rest of my family."

I just thank God every day that something did come up for me.

On the waiting list at the moment in the UK

approximately 1 in 12 is black.

Donor rates are inadequate.

And it's far better to have a liver, kidney, heart, lung,

an organ from an ethnically identical group.

The importance of the match between the donor and the recipient

varies from organ to organ.

And so the closer the matching is

the better the organ is likely to be tolerated by the recipient.

The ethnic minorities do have an increased demand

for organ transplant.

There's a higher instance of hypertension, diabetes,

a higher instance of renal failure,

there's often more viral hepatitis, which may result in liver failure.

We do need many more donors for everybody

and particularly we need more black donors,

because black donations rates

are approximately half what they are for other groups.

A lot of people out there

probably won't get the same opportunity as I have done.

And I think if people are frightened to be organ donors,

don't be, because you're helping someone else

to have a new lease of life.

The major faiths all support organ donation

and stress that it's a good thing to do.

People need to be made aware of the fact that there are people out there waiting.

And, at the end of the day,

if they don't get a transplant it could be fatal.

I think it's also helpful for the individuals to think

if their kidneys or liver or heart fails,

would they want an organ transplant?

And if so, where are those organs going to come from?

And if they're not prepared to donate, who's going to?

If you're prepared to take, why are you not prepared to give?

And that's irrespective of ethnicity.


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