Our Services

Organ Donation

What was the best gift you have received? An X-Box? A ring? Or concert tickets to see your favourite band?

For some people, the best gift they got was the GIFT OF LIFE.

The Gift of Life through organ donation saves lives. It is often the best and sometimes the only treatment available for those who are suffering disease or failure of a major organ.

Many patients both young and old receive life-changing transplants each year. This Gift of Life is dependent on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to consider donation of organs and tissues.

Mission Statement

96% of the population of the UK say they would accept an organ if they needed one. Yet only 30% of the population are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Currently in the UK there are around 10,000 people who need an organ transplant and around 1,000 people die each year whilst waiting on this list for an organ to become available. This means that on average 3 people die each day and many more that require a transplant may wait for years before they receive a suitably matched organ.

Our goal is to ensure that every patient who dies in the care of South Tyneside Foundation NHS Trust is considered for solid organ, corneal and tissue donation.

One organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives. A tissue donor can help many more people. Through the generosity and bravery of individuals and their bereaved families agreeing to donate organ the organs of loved ones lives can be saved.

About Organ Donation at South Tyneside Foundation NHS Trust

Within the Trust we support solid organ, corneal and tissue donation and are proud to fulfil people’s wishes both in their lifetime and in the event of their death.

We have an established donation team which is responsible for supporting bereaved families offering them the option of organ donation.

The donation team is assisted by the Organ Donation Committee which reports to the Trust Board to ensure we are achieving the best for the people and families of South Tyneside.

The Organ Donation Committee is a core group of individuals at South Tyneside District Hospital who work closely with many of the hospital services ensuring that strategies and resources are in place to ensure that donations can take place.

We ensure that there are robust policies in place and that we maintain best practice alongside national guidance in all aspects of end of life and donation practice.

We believe that all families should have the opportunity to be involved in decision making around donation and other end of life issues and we strive to ensure these choices are given to families in a timely manner.

The donation team and committee also work to promote knowledge and awareness of donation and its benefits throughout the hospital and the wider community.

Who’s who

Dr Sanjay Deshpande                   Clinical Lead Organ Donation

Michelle Hunter                       Specialist Nurse Organ Donation

Steve Williamson               Trust Donation Committee Chair

Organ Donation – What is Tissue Donation?

Most people are aware that thousands of lives are saved each year by donated organs such as heart and kidneys. They may not realise that donated tissues such as skin, bone and heart valves can dramatically improve the quality of lives for others and even save them.

Tissues are donated after death, by people who have expressed a wish during their lifetime to help others in this way by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register or expressing their wishes to the families.

Many people can be considered for tissue donation after death. Unlike organs, tissues can be donated up to 24 hours after a person’s heart has stopped beating. The Department of Health has stated that the offer of organ and tissue donation should be integral to all bereavement services, and that donation should always be considered when it becomes certain a patient will die or has died.

Many kinds of tissues can be donated after death:

Eyes can help restore sight to people with cornea problems (the clear part of the eye). This may be a result of damage caused by eye disease or injury or defects from birth and the white part of the eye (the sclera) can be used in operations to rebuild the eye.

Heart valves can be transplanted to save the lives of children born with heart defects and adults with damaged heart valves.

Skin can be used as a natural dressing, helping treat people with serious burns. This can save lives by stopping infections, can help reduce scarring and reduces pain.

Bone is important for people receiving artificial joint replacements or replacing bone that has removed due to illness or injury. It helps reduce pain and improve mobility.

Tendons are the elastic like cords that attach bones and muscles to each other and can be donated to help rebuild damaged joints which helps people move more easily.

The only tissue you can specifically opt for is Cornea. If you want to donate tissue as well as organs you need to tick the “ALL” box.

Some tissues can only be donated if you are a certain age or size. There are some contraindications to tissue donation including HIV, CJD, dementia, hepatitis, malignancy, previous organ or tissue transplant (after 3 months of receiving it).

If you have any questions regarding the donation of tissues please contact Michelle Hunter, Specialist Nurse Organ Donation – 0191 4041000 ask for Critical Care or extension 2101(office hours) or the regional Specialist Nurse Organ donation on call 07659146757 (24 hour service).

Organ Donation - What is Organ Donation?

Organ donation is donating a vital organ to a recipient whose own organ has failed or is failing. That organ can either come from a deceased donor or a living donor. Depending on the type of donated organ that is transplanted the outcome will be life enhancing and in many cases life saving.

Organ Transplants are the best possible treatment for most people with organ failure. In the UK last year (2013-2014) more than 4,655 people benefited from an organ donation.

Who can donate?

Some organs such as kidney, lung and segment of liver, can be donated during life. However, most organ and tissue transplants come from people who have expressed a wish during their lifetime to help others upon their death. Often they do this formally by registering their desire to donate on the Organ Donor Register or by discussing donation with their loved ones.

The Department of Health has stated that the offer of organ and tissue donation should be integral part to all bereavement services, and that donation should always be considered when it becomes certain that a patient will die or has died.

To ensure the quality of organs donated, they have to be transplanted soon after someone has died. The donor will normally be in hospital, in an intensive care unit or in an emergency department.

What organs can be donated after death?

Kidneys from a deceased donor will normally be transplanted into two separate patients. An individual can live quite adequately with only one kidney. Kidneys were the first organs to be successfully transplanted in 1954. 2,142 deceased donor kidneys were transplanted across the last year (2013-2014) plus a further 1,114 kidneys given by living donors.

The heart can be transplanted singularly or combined with the lungs in a heart and lung transplant. The first heart transplant took place in 1967. 198 hearts were transplanted in the UK last year (2013-2014).

Lungs can be transplanted as a pair or separated for two recipients. Lobes of lung can also be donated. 218 lungs or heart/lungs were transplants in the UK the last year (2013-2014).

Livers can be transplanted as one organ or can be split into two if the liver is suitable. 932 recipients received a liver transplant last year (2013-2014).

The pancreas can be transplanted singularly or with a kidney dependent on the recipient’s requirements. There were 26 pancreas transplants last year and a further 188 combined kidney-pancreas transplants (2013-2014).

Small Bowel
The small bowel can be transplanted and is becoming a more frequent operation in the UK. It is often transplanted with the liver as a multi-organ transplant. 

Can anyone donate organs and tissue?

Most people can be considered for organ and tissue donation. In order to ensure that donations are a safe as possible, the donor’s medical and behavioural history is reviewed in a similar manner to that of blood donors. This reduces the risk of transmitting disease to a patient. A blood sample is taken from the donor and tested for viruses including HIV and hepatitis. Family interviews are carried out by specially trained organ or tissue donation Specialist Nurses, who are there to carry out the wishes of the donor and their families.

Joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and discussing your wishes with your family are the first and most important steps in towards your donation being carried out.

Organ Donation – Religion and Ethnicity

Organ donation is a very personal decision there are no religious denominations that object to organ or tissue donation; however it is advisable to be aware of individual religious requirements for the care of the deceased.

The Specialist Nurse Organ Donation will do her utmost to have someone there to support the relatives from their religious background if the family feel this will benefit them during the process.

Buddhist: Central to Buddhism is a wish to relieve suffering and there may be circumstances where organ donation may be seen as an act of generosity.

Christian: Organ donation can be considered by Christians as a genuine act of love.

Jewish: Judaism sanctions and encourages organ donation in order to save lives (pikuach nefesh). This principle can override the Jewish objections to any unnecessary interference with the body after death, and the requirement for immediate burial.

Hindu: Organ donation is in keeping with Hindu beliefs as it can help to save the life of others.

Sikhism: Sikh philosophy and teaching place great emphasis on the importance of giving and putting others before oneself. Seva can also be donation of one’s organ to another. There are no taboos attached to organ donation in Sikh.

Muslim: The general rule that ‘necessities permit the prohibited’ (al-darurat tubih al-mahzurat), has been used to support human organ donation with regard to saving or significantly enhancing a life of another provided that the benefit outweighs the personal cost that has to be borne. One of the fundamental purposes of Islamic law is the preservation of life. Allah greatly rewards those who save the life of others.

Organ Donation – Contact the Specialist Nurse or Clinical Lead Organ Donation

Contact the Specialist Nurse
For general enquiries regarding organ or tissue donation during office hours, please contact:

Michelle Hunter
Embedded Specialist Nurse Organ Donation
South Tyneside District Hospital
Harton Lane
South Shields
Tyne and wear
NE34 0PL

0191 4041000 extension 2101

Dr Sanjay Deshpande
Clinical Lead Organ Donation
South Tyneside District Hospital
Harton Lane
South Shields
Tyne and wear
NE34 0PL 

0191 4041000

For the referral of a potential organ or tissue donor, and enquiries outside of office hours, please contact:

On-call Specialist Nurse Organ Donation via the group pager on Tel: 07659146757 

Organ Donation – Join the NHS Organ Donor Register

I want to be a donor. How do I become one?
It is very easy. Clink on the link below and very importantly tell your family and relatives about your wishes and that you have signed up to the register.

Remember, every year thousands of lives are saved or transformed through the gift of a transplant but there remains a critical shortage of donor organs and on average three people a day die whilst waiting for that call.

If you are willing to receive a transplant then would you be willing to donate your organs after your death? Please take some time to think about it and if you would want others to live after your death sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register today.

You are able to join the Organ Donor Register through several means:

• Visit the website – www.organdonation.nhs.uk

• Telephone – 0300 123 23 23
• Text SAVE to 84118

It is very important you discuss your wishes in the event of your death with your family and friends, as we will need to discuss this with them.