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Organ recipient: Waiting for donor 'like being on death row'

Melanie Wager, who received a kidney in July 2010, has welcomed the proposed change to the law in Wales, saying:

Waiting for an organ is an extremely difficult time for anyone - it is like being on death row and it seems as if you are being further punished for being ill.

Mentally, it is cruel for the patient and the caring family.

Read: Proposed Welsh scheme assumes organ donor consent

Organ donor's family to be consulted under Welsh plan

The Kidney Wales Foundation, which was involved in the formulation of the 'opt-out' organ donor scheme in Wales, has stressed that family consent is vital.

All Welsh residents will be able to register their personal wishes regarding organ donation ... If you do not opt-in, or opt-out, if you do nothing, you will have deemed to consent to organ donation ...

Deemed consent donation will not go ahead in the absence of any family member.

Kidney Wales believe the presence of the family is essential - both as a source of necessary information about the potential donor and in order to ensure that donation does not go ahead in the face of the deceased's known objection to organ donation.

– Roy Thomas, chief executive, Kidney Wales Foundation

Welsh health minister: Majority of people wish to donate

Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford has argued that a new scheme that assumes consent for organ donation will increase the number of organs available for transplant.

He highlighted the fact that surveys have shown that a majority of Welsh people wish to be a donor.

Deemed consent will bring about a cultural shift in the way donation proceeds in Wales.

It will alter the nature of some of the most difficult conversations that any family might face, and it will help to ensure that the wishes of that substantial majority of Welsh citizens who say, in survey after survey, that they would wish to be a donor, are put into practice in those very rare and special circumstances when donation is possible.

– Mark Drakeford, health minister for wales



Youngest heart implant patient recovering from transplant

A one-year-old baby is recovering from a heart transplant at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

The family of Carina Marcangelo say she is in a critical condition following surgery on Sunday but making steady progress.

Carina's family say she is in a critical condition but is making steady recovery

Carina had a disease which damages the heart and became the youngest person in Britain to be fitted with a mini-defibrillator.

Carina has cardiomyopathy which damages the heart. She spent her first birthday completely sedated on life support at the Royal Brompton as she awaited a donor organ.

Carina, became the youngest child to be fitted with a mini defibrillator (ICD) in her chest in November

She became the youngest child to be fitted with a mini defibrillator (ICD) in her chest in November at just 9 months old. The device gave her heart a shock if its rhythm worsened.

Carina could only receive a heart from a one-year-old to a small five-year-old. The average waiting time for a heart is around 3 months.

The lives preserved by organ donations

The upturn in organ donors proved to be a lifesaver for singing heart patient Vincenzo Avanzato.

He spent 13 weeks on an urgent list awaiting an organ - knowing every day in hospital could be his last - before receiving the greatest Christmas gift of all.

Vincenzo Avanzato sang Italian arias daily, even while being wheeled to the operating theatre for his transplant.

Read Vincenzo Avanzato's remarkable story

Craig Boden was told he would not survive without a new liver.

But a new organ preserved his life with his partner and two young daughters.

Craig Boden made a passionate video appeal after being given a year to live.

Watch Craig Boden's life-affirming story

Read: ITV's From the Heart campaign encourages organ donation

How can you register to become an organ donor?

Up to 1,000 people die every year due to a shortage of organs for transplant, NHS blood and transplant said.

To register to become a donor, visit the NHS website.

A general view of a donor card Credit: Clive Gee/PA Archive

You can also join when registering for a driving licence or car tax, applying for a Boots Advantage card, registering with a GP or registering for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

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