‘Become an organ donor,’ urges doctor

A doctor who was the recipient of a heart transplant is encouraging people to become organ donors during National Transplant week writes Layth Yousif.

Dr Snehasish Guha was a practicing anaesthetist involved in an organ retrieval of a young patient who died in a road accident – prompting him to sign up to the organ donor register.

Transplant patient Dr Snehasish Guha. PNL-140907-135849001

Transplant patient Dr Snehasish Guha. PNL-140907-135849001

Dr Guha said: “What I saw was something quite remarkable – this young man’s organs went to seven different people and that was the day I decided this was something that I must sign up for.”

However, soon afterwards Dr Guha was diagnosed with a viral infection which resulted in him living with heart failure which required a heart transplant to save his life.

He said: “I deteriorated after 2010. I signed up to the transplant programme because I wanted to get back to a normal life and they put me on a transplant list. I received a new heart in 2012 and was back at work within three months and felt very good, and very optimistic.

NHS Blood and Transplant is encouraging people to make their decision to be an organ donor during National Transplant Week 2014 which runs until today, Sunday.

Dr Guha said: “The thing is I was on the list for two years and every time someone calls you think it’s for the op – but when it happened you have about 10 to 12 hours to prepare. Afterwards I was able to see my wife and friends which was pretty good. The nurses were absolutely fantastic, they said do you need anything and I asked for a coke – it was the nicest coke I’d ever tasted!

“Two years post-transplant I’ve almost forgotten I’d had the op. I am really grateful for being given the gift of the operation – it’s like winning the lottery. There are a lot of patients out there who are waiting for an operation, and there are a lot of patients out who don’t even make it to the operation – I have been given a new lease of life.”

The aim of this year’s campaign is to increase awareness that the decision to donate a loved one’s organs falls to the family if you die in circumstances where you can donate.

Dr Guha and others who have raised nearly £5,000 in fundraising for the cause added: “Donating an organ is an astonishing thing – we gift a lot to loved ones but how many times can you give the gift of life to a stranger?

“My message to anyone thinking about signing up would be if you could see how many lives can be helped by one person’s organs – well, it’s astonishing.”

For further information about National Transplant Week and to register your organ donation decision go to www.transplantweek.co.uk. Follow NHS Blood and Transplant on twitter @NHSOrganDonor and support them on Facebook www.facebook.com/organdonationuk and remember to #spellitout.