Forth Valley Dialysis Patient Encourages Others to Consider Donating a Kidney
A Forth Valley man, who has been waiting several years for a kidney transplant, has urged people not to be frightened about donating a kidney.
51-year-old Peter Donaldson, who undergoes dialysis three times a week at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, took ill out of the blue four years ago with a bleed on the brain. He had no idea he was suffering from high blood pressure, was always at the gym (sometimes five times a week) attended fitness classes and didn’t smoke.
Peter explained: “Obviously the ideal candidate would be a family member. But I would say to anybody thinking about donating that the care you get and the extensive testing, is unbelievable. So, I urge people to think about it as it’s nothing to be scared about.”
Three friends and Peter’s wife Pauline all volunteered to donate a kidney when it was discovered he needed a transplant. However, after testing, only his wife was suitable, but unfortunately her blood group and tissue didn’t match.
Peter said: “I thought the four people who came forward for me was tremendous, I was so grateful.”
Peter has also had spells in hospitals in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and a couple of years ago his kidney function was just 26%. Blood pressure tablets made it worse for his kidneys, both of which are affected.
However, Peter remains philosophical about the future. He explained: “I’ve never let it spoil things; it’ll happen when it happens. Thankfully, I’m a positive person and cannot afford to let things stop as we all have mortgages to pay.”
Peter does admit though that failing kidneys have a big impact on his life and that of his loved ones. “Everything has to be planned first, there are no spur of the moment decisions. Dialysis at a private clinic in a European sunspot for example, costs 230 euros per session and had to be pre-booked.”
Peter says he is heartened that nine patients from the Forth Valley area have recently had kidney transplants which he believes may be due to the new legislation introduced in Scotland where everyone has a choice when it comes to organ and tissue donation – to be a donor or to opt out.
As this year’s Organ Donation Week gets under way (26th September to 2nd October 2022) just over half of the population in Forth Valley (54%*) have already recorded their decision but with an average of 500 people across Scotland waiting on a transplant at any one time, every opportunity for donation is precious. However, it is important to discuss your wishes with loved ones. If you do nothing it is assumed, you agree to be a donor if you die in circumstances where donation is possible. Recording your decision and sharing it with loved ones can make it easier for them to ensure it is honoured
Allan Rennie who chairs NHS Forth Valley’s Organ Donation Committee, added: “Organ and tissue donation is an important consideration for anyone but making that decision and sharing it can make it so much easier for your loved ones to ensure it is honoured.”
* Forth Valley figures
- Total % recorded a decision: 54.1 (compared to 56% for Scotland)
- % recorded decision to be a donor: 50.9
- % chose to opt out: 3.2
Source – NHS Blood and Transplant as at 13 September 2022.
People can register their donation decision and find out more at Organ Donation Scotland or by calling 0300 123 2323.