Sunday, September 27, 2020

How a liver transplant saved one woman’s life when she had ‘only days to live’

Transplant News Sharing // News from Source

In the space of less than a month, Janet Tilford had gone from being fit and well to having a liver transplant which saved her life.

Janet was told she was put at the top of the super urgent list when she became seriously ill with a rare liver condition.

“They told my family that I only had days to live,” she says.

Janet, 63, of Hucknall and a member of the Nottingham University Hospitals Organ Donation Committee, had always carried an organ donor card – but rarely thought much about it.

As she puts it, “transplants and organ donation were things that happened to other people”.

Janet first began feeling ill a few weeks before she went to the doctors. She had blood tests done that day and received a phone call the same evening saying she needed to get to hospital.

She said: “I wasn’t really that worried as I had jaundice when I was younger and I assumed it was just that. I thought I’d be out the next day. Little did I know!”

Having initially “just carried on” despite experiencing symptoms, Janet was admitted to the Queen’s Medical Centre.

Within weeks she found herself in intensive care at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge awaiting a liver transplant.

Five years on from her transplant, Janet is doing well and was the face of a national organ donation campaign a few year ago.

She also does regular talks at local groups to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation, and the profound and often life-changing impact it has on individuals and their families.

She said: “Organ donation saved my life. You always think it happens to other people but look at me! Within the space of less than a month, I had gone from being fit and well to having a liver transplant”.

Still emotional five years on when speaking about her experience, Janet recalls that she wrote her donor’s family a letter of thanks – mediated by Addenbrooke’s Hospital to preserve anonymity of both parties – and of her delight on receiving a card back.

“I couldn’t open the card for a week. Eventually I summoned the resolve to read it, which was incredibly humbling and emotional.

“Having since talked to families of deceased loved ones who have donated organs, I now appreciate what a source of comfort it can be to them. The act of fulfilling their loved one’s wishes to improve and save lives, and prevent other families from going through the same pain as they are going through, is a great comfort and can be the thing that helps them through their grief and loss”.

Her story comes as Monday, September 7, marked the start of national Organ Donation Week.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust are asking local people to speak to their loved ones about what they would like to happen to their organs in the event of their death.

The trust are also highlighting the life-changing and life-saving impact of organ transplants to thousands of people every year.

Since May 2020, adults in England are considered as potential organ donors when they die unless they had recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. This new ‘opt out’ system was in part brought about by the campaigning of Max Johnson and his family, after nine-year-old Max received a life-saving organ donated by Keira Ball, a little girl from Devon who passed away after a road traffic accident in 2017.

Despite the law change, there are still many misconceptions about what the ‘opt out’ system for organ donation means. Key messages of this year’s Organ Donation Week are that:

  1. you still have a choice when it comes to organ donation
  2. families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead
  3. whatever your decision, make your choice clear to your family and loved ones and go to to sign the register and make your wishes known (or call 0300123 23 23)

Transplant News Sharing // “Liver Transplants” – Google News from Source

Transplant News
Transplant News
Transplant News brings you original and carefully curated aggregate news stories, articles and content that matter to the transplant community, from top publishers around the web. Everything from patient stories, to the latest in transplant innovation, TN is your window into the world of transplantation.

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