MOST organ transplant patients will under go under the knife for the life-changing operation only once in their lives.
But transplant nurse Sandra Dix sees the stress and joy of that moment dozens of times a year as a transplant nurse at the John Radcliffe.
This week the Oxford Mail is encouraging people to give the gift of life this Christmas and help nurses like Ms Dix, by signing up to the organ donor register.
She has worked with transplant patients for about 15 years and is the lead nurse for the hospital’s living donor programme.
Our top stories
The programme sees an average of 50 patients each year receive a kidney from living donors, some of whom do not even know the person whose life they are changing.
She said: “Being a transplant nurse was something that just came along, but then I left transplant and went elsewhere but I have always had a draw back to it.
“Live donation is definitely my niche, I enjoy it and usually there is a positive outcome.
“I enjoy helping patients all the way though and to see the recipient at the end of their journey and the difference it makes to their life is amazing.”
Most living donors give a kidney to someone close to them, such as a family member or lifelong friend, but some make the decision to help a stranger.
Ms Dix said the process was relatively straightforward She said: “If you want to get involved in altruistic donation you need to contact our donor team at the Churchill Hospital.
“The assessment process is quite vigorous to make sure you are able to donate.
“It is major surgery but it is keyhole surgery so the recovery is quite quick. Most people leave hospital after three days and we hope people are back to their normal activities in four to six weeks.”
Not everyone wants to make the decision to offer up a kidney while they are still alive, but Ms Dix emphasised the importance of that gift given by deceased donors.
She said: “What I’d say to anyone thinking of signing up to the organ donor register is that if that is their wish they should make sure that they inform their relatives.
“If a patient gets a functioning transplant their quality of life is made so much better.
“Without a transplant some are unable to hold down jobs and a transplant can get them back into work or maybe start a family.
“It is an amazing gift.”
REGISTERING COULD MAKE A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE
- The Oxford Mail is asking you to give someone the most precious of gifts this Christmas. Your help could save the life of one of any of the 51 people in the county waiting for a donor. We are backing the Life Saver campaign to get more people to sign up to become organ donors, after it was revealed less than half the people of Oxfordshire are registered donors. The organ donor register is free to join online, on the phone, or by text. Visit organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 123 23 23 or text save to 62323.
- Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.