Cork transplant recipient says access to driver license information could save more lives

launch of organ donor week

GREATER access to driver’s licence records could lead to more organ donations and save more lives, it has been claimed.

Almost one million people have indicated on their driving licence that they want to be organ donors.

However, this information is unavailable to healthcare professionals.

Cork woman Isabel Terry underwent a double lung and heart transplant in 2017 at the age of 42 after spending 15 years on the waiting list.

“It’s very important that doctors can access information and know if people want to be organ donors,” she told The Echo.

“But it’s also hugely important that the next of kin know, as at the moment, they’re the ones that make the decision at the end of the day.

Heart and double lung transplant recipient Isabel Terry from Bishopstown, Cork, is promoting organ donation awareness week. Picture Dan LInehan
Heart and double lung transplant recipient Isabel Terry from Bishopstown, Cork, is promoting organ donation awareness week. Picture Dan LInehan

“Even if a person has expressed their desire to donate their organs, their next of kin can say no and medical professionals won’t go against that,” she added.

“That needs to change and we need to discuss organ donation a lot more.

“A lot of people might have their organ donor card or their licence ticked and their next of kin might not have realised.

“Then it might be an easier decision for them to make, to allow the donation to happen, if they knew.

“It could save lives. Organ donation saves lives all the time and I know that I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my donor.

“Time was running out for me and I literally had just a couple of months to live,” said Isabel.

Fianna Fáil Senator, Mark Daly, has demanded a change in the law to allow greater access to this information, which he said would save more lives.

He has called on the Transport Minister to allow medical professionals access to driving licence information so that they can establish if a driver licence holder is an organ donor.

“Since 2013, driving licence applicants have been asked if they would they be willing to be an organ donor,” explained Mr Daly, who was nominated to the Seanad by the Irish Kidney Association.

“However, doctors and medical professionals are currently not allowed to access this information.

“This means that those involved in the facilitation of organ transplants often miss out on potential donors,” he added.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Robert Troy TD added: “Medical professionals, and the families of people who want to donate their organs, need to be given this information as soon as possible.

“Delays can cost lives.”

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