22/07/2015

Reflecting on the Great Ormond Street Hospital documentary and the key messages it contained

Despite us having 1,000s of channels to choose from on Sky, we can never, ever find anything 'good' on to watch (obviously not including the re-runs of Friends on Comedy Central!)

After flicking through the guide last night, we came across a documentary on BBC2 about Great Ormond Street Hospital and it was all about lung transplants.  The programme followed four children ranging in age through their quest to breathe easy and enjoy their childhood/extend their life expectancy.

As expected with any programme that comes with a warning of 'upsetting scenes', it tugged at the heart strings and gave us a feeling of admiration for all those featured - the doctors, consultants and surgeons working tirelessly at GOSH; the parents for being so composed and strong for their children; and the children themselves for being so incredibly brave.

The issue of organ donation was a subtle undertone to the programme as you saw the children take their place on the donor waiting list - some for a matter of days and some for much longer.  One little boy, Charlie, waited just over a week for his new lungs.  The consultant said he was very lucky to find a match so quickly, some people wait months, even years - with many dying before a match was found.

Another girl, Jess, had a false alarm of a donor match.  When she eventually got one, tests found cancer in the body of the donor - meaning it could have spread to the lungs.  This was something they could not know, meaning Jess then had to decide whether this was a risk she wanted to take, or whether she would reject these lungs and go back on the list for some more.  Such a difficult decision for anyone to make, but a child?  It's unthinkable.

After watching the documentary, I felt safe in the knowledge that I am signed up to the Organ Donor Register meaning that, when I pass away (which hopefully is a long, long way off yet!), my organs will go to help those who really, really need them,

Whilst I am signed up, and have been for a number of years, many people aren't - which sometimes surprises me.  If, God forbid, you or a person you loved was in an accident or came down with a serious illness and the only chance of saving you/them was a donor organ, it would be unquestionable to say yes.  There's then the painful wait for someone who is a match, and consented to donating their organs, to pass away.

If put in that situation, no doubt everyone would hope and pray that there was someone on the Organ Donor Register who could help them.  But unless more people are signed up, there's never going to be a match for everyone. 

I expect after last night's programme, the Organ Donor Register saw a spike in people signing up - and that's great.  I also suspect it inspired a lot of people to do charity events to raise money for the hospital.  I, myself, did a skydive four years ago to raise money for GOSH and raised over £800.  Watching the programme last night reminded me that it was all worth it and that every penny makes a huge difference to the lives of poorly children.

With regards to organ donation, it takes a matter of minutes to do and could help to prolong someone's life by decades.  If you would like to sign up, visit this link

It really is the greatest gift you could ever give.

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