Organ donation

Craig and Sandra - Interview 07

Male
Age at interview: 44

Brief outline: Craig and Sandra consented to donate their 11-year-old daughter's organs in 2008 when she, sadly, died of a brain haemorrhage. Their daughter, Rachel, had discussed her wishes with them in the past, knowing that her grandfather had died after having two kidney transplants.

Background: Craig and Sandra are married and have a son. Craig is a police officer and Sandra is a nursing sister. Ethnic background / nationality' White British.

Audio & video

Audio onlyText only
Read below

Rachel

 

 

Craig and Sandra consented to donate their 11-year-old daughter’s organs in 2008 when she, sadly, died of a brain haemorrhage. Their daughter, Rachel, had discussed her wishes with them in the past, knowing that her grandfather had died after having two kidney transplants. Craig and Sandra had talked openly with their children about transplants and organ donation because Craig’s dad had died after many years of kidney problems.

At the age of 11, out of the blue, Rachel had a brain haemorrhage and was rushed into hospital. A brain haemorrhage is a serious, potentially life-threatening, condition.

Doctors told Craig and Sandra that the bleed had been very extensive and, sadly, Rachel died in intensive care. Craig and Sandra had approached medical staff about organ donation and consented, knowing Rachel’s wishes. They involved their son, who was 13 at the time, throughout. Sandra said that she was surprised at the amount of paperwork involved with consenting to organ donation. For Craig, it was hard to believe that Rachel was no longer alive because she looked as if she was just asleep and was warm to the touch. Brain stem tests had confirmed that she was no longer alive. With hindsight, they felt that it would be helpful for families to know that, even when a loved one looks alive at this stage, they are only kept breathing because of the ventilator (life support machine). It can be distressing leaving them when they still ‘look alive’.

Craig and Sandra praised the care Rachel had received from doctors and nurses and the support they received from the specialist nurse (co-ordinator). This was an extremely difficult and traumatic time and Craig said that organ donation ‘was a very small positive thing that happened that day, out of something that was immensely negative and tragic.’

Rachel was a very popular girl and the funeral was a celebration of her life. Craig, Sandra and their son keep a memory box of the special things that relate to Rachel, who will always be an important part of their lives.

About five months after Rachel’s death, Craig and Sandra received a letter, via the specialist nurse, from one of the recipients – a man who’d received one of Rachel’s kidneys and her pancreas. Sandra said that this ‘was just amazing’ and they had really valued hearing from him. Sandra said they would like to hear how all the recipients are getting on and were thinking of writing to them through their co-ordinator.

Craig and Sandra are now involved in promoting organ donation and, as well as talking about their experience in the media, have also been involved in helping make an education pack for schools in Scotland. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Feedback

Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to healthtalk.org





Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email