Organ donation

Frank - Interview 16

Male
Age at interview: 62

Brief outline: Frank's wife, Jen, sadly died in 2008, aged 62. She had been unwell for about a year and was later diagnosed with motor neurone disease. She was a nurse, and gave the gift of life to two people with kidney failure.

Background: Frank is a weighbridge clerk and has two adult children. Ethnic background / nationality' White British.

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Jen

 

Frank’s wife, Jen, sadly died in 2008, aged 62. She had been unwell for about a year and had found it difficult to walk uphill. She’d also had arthritis and a bad back but they hadn’t been too concerned about any serious health problem. As the year progressed, however, Jen started falling over and this was more worrying. When she was struggling to breathe, Jen’s son took her into hospital, where she stayed for tests.

The following night, Frank received a call from the hospital and was asked to come in. He went immediately with his son and daughter.

Jen was unconscious for a week and then developed pneumonia. Frank was told that she’d had a bad reaction to one of the drugs doctors had given her. She was transferred from the local to a city hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with motor neurone disease. They also told Frank that Jen was unlikely to survive. At this stage, Frank spoke to the specialist nurse [coordinator], knowing that, being a nurse, Jen was in favour of organ donation.

Frank praised the care Jen had received from health professionals and said the transplant coordinator had given him, his children and grandchildren locks of Jen’s hair and her handprints. Frank said Jen had been treated with dignity and respect throughout her experience, and he urged other people not to worry that their loved one would be treated in any other way.

A few weeks after Jen’s death, the specialist nurse contacted Frank to tell him that Jen’s kidneys had been donated to a 61-year-old man and 71-year-old man. Her liver had been used to further medical research.

Both of Jen’s recipients wrote to Frank shortly afterwards. He now receives annual updates about them from the coordinator.

Shortly after Jen’s death, Frank contacted the Donor Family Network (DFN), a charity run by donor families that aims to support donor families and promote organ and tissue donation (http'//www.donorfamilynetwork.co.uk/). He said he and his family received valuable support from the DFN and praised the work they did to help other people in a similar situation. He also advised other people to consider registering for organ donation.   
 

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