This week is the 10th annual DonateLife Week, a time to encourage everyone to think about organ and tissue donation.
There are currently around 1,800 Australians on the transplant waiting list but the team in the ONJ Centre's 8 South are doing their bit to help those in need of eye and corneal transplants.
8 South Associate Nurse Unit Manager, Sofia Karageorge, said it’s so important to for patients and their families to talk about organ and tissue donation.
“We screen every patient on admission to 8 South for eligibility to become an eye or tissue donor,” Sofia said.
“Eye donation can be life changing for people suffering from conditions such as Keratoconus or Fuch’s syndrome, or even those who have suffered a traumatic eye injury.
“Every donation from patients literally restores sight for someone else,” she said.
The work of the 8 South team has resulted in 217 eye donations and two tissue donations over the last three years.
“Most families are either happy to consent to have their loved one donate or are very clear that they don’t want to be part of the donation process. The important thing is that we’re having the conversation and giving people the opportunity to donate," she said.
“Families need to be part of the process because even though a patient may wish to be an organ or tissue donor, their family still has the final say for the donation to go ahead.
“We never assume anything when it comes to the donation process, people from all backgrounds consent to eye donation and helping others is something that can give families comfort during what is often a difficult time in their own lives.
“It’s also a really rewarding outcome for staff.
“We even encourage our staff to have the conversation with their family about their wishes. Having everyone clear makes the process much simpler when it comes time to be an organ or tissue donor.
So please register and talk to your loved ones,” Sofia said.
DonateLife Week 2021 runs from Sunday 25 July to Sunday 1 August.
To find out more about registering to be an organ donor go to - www.donatelife.gov.au/join-register