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January 12, 2012

More lives could be saved if Gippsland and Latrobe Valley residents discussed organ donation with their families, according to Latrobe Regional Hospital Senior Nurse Gwenda Dortmans and Federal MP Darren Chester.

Mrs Dortmans said organ donation was critical with over 2000 people currently waiting for suitable organs to be donated. She said 900 donations were carried out over the past 12 months.

“People can choose to donate their organs to help save lives,” Mrs Dortmans said.

“But too often we hear of registered organ donors who haven’t discussed their plan to donate their organs with their family, before their death.

“This makes the process very complicated and at times distressing for the family involved.

“That’s why it’s critical that anybody who wishes to donate their organs discusses it with their family before registering with DonateLife.”

DonateLife is the Australian Government’s body behind the campaign to increase organ donation. According to DonateLife over 75 per cent of Australians are willing to become organ donors but 40 per cent of Australians do not know the wishes of their loved ones.

Mrs Dortmans said the figures highlight the importance of the ‘Donate life, discuss it today – OK?’ campaign.

She has also enlisted local MPs Darren Chester and Russell Northe to support the campaign.

Both MPs have registered as organ donors with Mr Chester saying it was an individual’s choice to try to save a life.

“Every year we hear unfortunate stories of people of all ages waiting for a suitable organ to be donated so that they can survive and enjoy a renewed quality of life,” Mr Chester said.

“Registering as an organ donor is a simple step people can take to help save those whose life hangs in the balance while they wait for vital organs.”

Mr Northe said organ donation can have a huge impact on the lives of others.

“One organ donor can save the lives of, or dramatically improve the lives of, up to 10 people. I have been a registered donor for many years, as I feel it is hugely important that we do all that we can to assist others in their time of need,” Mr Northe said.

“While this can be a very difficult and emotional issue, the critical aspect in all of this is to understand the wishes of family and friends when a decision needs to be made.”

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