Mick and Natalie - Interview 30
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Mick and Natalie’s son sadly died of a brain haemorrhage in 2004, aged 8. They had come back from holiday and, the following morning, he complained of a headache and feeling unwell. He was sick in the bathroom and then collapsed. Mick and Natalie immediately called for an ambulance.
At the hospital, their son had a seizure and was transferred to another hospital. They were later told that he’d had a serious brain haemorrhage and would need surgery. Sadly, he never recovered from the surgery. A brain haemorrhage is a serious, potentially life-threatening, condition where blood leaks out of blood vessels over the surface of the brain.
After some thought, Mick and Natalie consented to organ donation. Soon afterwards, the specialist nurse [donor coordinator] visited them at home and let them know that their son’s kidney, liver and heart valves had been donated. They later received letters from the recipients.
Sadly, the day after their son’s funeral, Natalie’s mother died. Through their GP, they had some bereavement counselling which they found very supportive. Both Mick and Natalie found that they were making small mistakes and getting forgetful, but the counsellor reassured them that this was normal under the circumstances. Mick and Natalie were also concerned about their younger son, who was five at the time. They would have liked some bereavement counselling for him in the local area but, unfortunately, this was not available at the time.
The bereavement counsellor also told Mick and Natalie about the Donor Family Network, and they later attended some of their events. The Donor Family Network is a charity run by donor families that aims to support donor families and promote organ and tissue donation (http'//www.donorfamilynetwork.co.uk/).
Mick and Natalie said they had received a lot of support. They were particularly grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and talk with other people who had been through something similar.
Mick and Natalie's son was transferred to a second hospital, where doctors told them that he'd...
Mick' They sort of whisked, he had like a fit [seizure], and then they whisked him off. And then they came back and told us he’d have to go to the [hospital name].
Did they say what they thought could be wrong?
Mick' Well we,
Natalie' No not at [the first hospital] they didn’t, did they?
Mick' No, no. They wasn’t sure at [the first hospital]. They said that he’d have to go to [the second hospital] for the, because what it was like, he’d got like a blood clot on the back of his head.
Natalie' It was a brain haemorrhage, wasn’t it? They told us. Obviously they took him to [the second hospital], scanned him and said they did have to operate. And they never, this sort of, he went through the operation but they said he’d never come around again. So….
Natalie' It was already too late. The damage had sort of been done and they said he’s not going to come round. So they just sort of kept him, this was like, they said we could stay overnight didn’t we?
Natalie' And they suggested that we call all the relatives and everything. And then they said, in the morning they said, “You know it’s not going to, he’s not going to get any better. He’s not going to come round.”
Natalie and Mick felt that organ donation was something their son would have wanted. Other...
Did they approach you when they wanted to talk to you about organ donation? Or was it a subject that you’d already,
Natalie' No, it was the doctor that said, wasn’t it?
Mick' Yeah, they approached us and asked if we’d like to consider it. And we said we’d like time to think about it at first. And then we sort of, they took us to another room so we could have time to think about it while they went away. And they came back about ten minutes to fifteen minutes later, and then they asked us what we’d decided. And that’s when we both agreed and they had to go ahead with it.
Natalie' We thought that’s what he would have wanted. And then we had, I mean he was only eight. We hadn’t talked about it.
Natalie' But we thought, you know, it’s what he would have wanted.
Was it ever a subject that came up with any of the family members? Had it ever, you know had you ever discussed the subject before?
Natalie' No, not before. No.
No. I think some of the other members of the family were a little bit surprised that we chose to do it. But, after a bit, realised it was what we wanted. And then, like I say, they thought like we did as its more about what our son would have wanted to. And that’s when, you know, and they were all happy with it and everything.
Mick registered for organ donation almost immediately after their son's death. Natalie needed...
Mick' Well I made up my mind to register more or less straightaway after our son passed away. And once I decided, once we decided that’s how it is, we knew that with our son, I decided there and then that when my time comes I’ll do exactly the same. And I’ve registered, and it took you a bit of time to…
Natalie' Yeah. I didn’t do it straight away, but now I am on the register.
Mick' You know, we’re both on the register. Yeah.
And what took you the time? You wanted to think about it or it just wasn’t the right time?
Natalie' It just wasn’t the right time. Obviously, I was still upset and I knew it was what I wanted to do, but I just couldn’t,
Mick' do it at the time.
Natalie' go that last step straight away. You know, it took me time to do it.
Of course. So when you read those leaflets and you made that decision it had quite an impact on you too then, to go and register?