Family’s world on hold while Shane waits for a lifesaver

A mother of three young children whose husband lies in hospital waiting for a lifesaving heart transplant has appealed for more people to become donors.

Family’s world on hold while Shane waits for a lifesaver

Tricia O’Connell, from Castleisland, Co Kerry, hopes her husband, Shane, 33, will get a donor heart that will allow him to get his life back.

Shane has spent almost a year in Dublin’s Mater Hospital because his condition is so serious.

He relies on a lot of medical assistance, including a device that enables his heart to pump blood around his body.

Tricia made her appeal for more donors in advance of European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation, which will be marked across Europe on Saturday.

There are 650 people in Ireland awaiting organ transplants.

Tricia said she hoped people would become more aware of people like Shane who had organ failure and the huge difference that a transplant could make to both the recipient and their families.

Shane, whose youngest child, Michael, will celebrate his second birthday tomorrow, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy when he was 11.

His father also suffered from the hereditary condition, and died from it at the age of 45.

Shane has been on the heart transplant waiting list since Feb 2012 and living in the Mater Hospital since December.

“He misses our children and looks forward greatly to seeing them at weekends when we travel to Dublin,” said Tricia.

She said many patients on the waiting list for a transplant have no quality of life.

“It cannot be termed a life while waiting for a transplant; it is merely an existence,” she said.

“Organ donation is such a selfless thing for a grieving family to consider but it gives someone else their life back whereas otherwise they would just be existing until their time runs out.”

Thanks to the generosity of the families of 78 donors last year, 206 people received organ transplants, 10 of whom received heart transplants at the Mater Hospital.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association, Mark Murphy, said Ireland’s slow decline on the European league table for organ donation needed to be acted on to reverse the trend.

Ireland is now in 16th place in Europe for all organ donation — living and deceased.

Mr Murphy said legislation had little or no part to play in the plan to boost organ donation and should not be waited for.

However, political decisions were needed to release funds for cost-saving infrastructural and clinical changes.

Mr Murphy said the provision of organ donor co-ordinators in hospitals and more cardiac death donors had boosted donations in Britain.

He said the top five countries for all transplantation — Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Austria, and Spain — were all transplanting 65% more organs than Ireland.

* www.ika.ie

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