How long did you have to make the decision about whether or not to turn off the life support?
Well I suppose we made it over 24 hours, we decided, it was clear I think after an hour or two that we weren’t going to be making any progress with him, so we had several discussions with the surgeon concerned, and we decided that we’d make the final decision the following morning. About 24 hours later, I suppose we had had time to just talk to other people about it, and particularly members of my family and so on. So we did that, and incidentally, one of the things that we decided quite early on was that he you know, here was a possibility of something positive coming out of it, in that we he would, you know he should be available for organ transplantation. And we were enormously helped by the fact that we were told after we’d made the decision that he had been carrying a donor card, and it, I think that was the right way round, as we actually made the decision before we knew that, which was enormously valuable confirmation.
Did someone at the hospital bring up the subject?
Only, only after we, we were asked whether we would agree to him being an organ donor. And when we said yes we certainly would agree to him being an organ donor because we felt he would want that, he was, you know he was very much of that, that mind, we’d discussed that sort of thing in the family as some families do I suppose, but especially medical families. And that was really very helpful to have that knowledge that he’d been carrying a donor card and it helped us. And I suppose I was very lucky in that we did have personal contact with the people involved in looking after Adrian, and not least the transplant surgeon actually came round that evening, and said that he was really glad that we’d agreed with this, and you know he would personally take charge of it and so on.
Did they tell you which parts of his body they used?
Well they took, yes took multiple organs, heart, liver, eyes, lungs, yes that’s right, so they did quite an extensive, but that was, that was a very positive feeling, that, especially as we knew it was something he would have wanted.
And I think that certainly helped us.
Did you ever find out later on whether those people survived? Did they tell you anything?
Well, we, didn’t feel we wanted to know who they were.
That would have been I think too painful for us to, but yes we were told that people had done very well with the all the transplants.
That must be really helpful.
Oh yes, it certainly was, and I think that’s one of the positive things about organ donation is that it does give people an opportunity to feel something good has come out of something awful.
Do you want to say anything else about organ donation?
Well I think organ donation is very important of course, because the, the technical side of it is so good, now it can be done much more easily than it could have been done, and the big problem is of course that there are far more people eligible for organ donations than there are organs available to give to them. And that’s because I’m afraid as a country people don’t seem to be very good at agreeing to be organ donors, or the families who actually make the gift, very good at doing that.
And I think there’s discussion at the moment about whether we should move to an opting out system, in other words that we should automatically assume that when somebody dies suddenly and is, could be eligible for being an organ donor, that it happens automatically unless there’s express concern, express, decision that it shouldn’t be an organ donor case. I think the gift relationship is tremendously important, I think certainly from our experience of being the parents of someone who died and could be an organ donor, it was important to us that we were able to make a positive decision, that he should be an organ donor, and it was very reassuring that he himself would have wished us to make that decision. I think for organ recipients, from my, from some of my personal experience again, it’s important to them to feel that the organs that they received were actually a gift from someone, they weren’t just organ snatched if you like.