Organ Donation Gives Salma Another Chance of Life

As this year’s Organ and Tissue Donation week gets underway (18th – 24th Sept 2023), NHS Forth Valley is highlighting the story of one local woman who received two donated organs and encouraging people across the area to make their donation decision known.

At 11 years old, Salma Hussain, who lives in Forth Valley, weighed less than six stone. She was very fragile, lying in bed much of the timeImage of Salma Hussain because she simply couldn’t get up. Her concerned parents took her to see a GP where she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

When she began taking insulin her weight did increase but Salma moved to dialysis and was then registered on the transplant list. Two years later, she was told to expect a phone call, probably during the night, as accidents are more likely to happen during these hours. The third call proved to be the lucky one.

Salma was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to prepare for her transplant. She explained: “I was scared and upset but tried not to think about it. Even when I was having dialysis, I still held down two jobs.”

In 2021, Salma received a pancreas and a kidney and was given the choice of two separate operations but opted for one, as she didn’t want to go through surgery twice. Ten days later she was on her way home.

Although still tired she said: “It was amazing, I feel like a new person. It’s like another chance at life. I would appeal to people to recognise the importance of organ donation and the fact that you could save somebody’s else’s life on your last breath.”

Salma now has three kidneys, her own two and a donated kidney. She also has two pancreases, her own and a gifted one. As yet, she doesn’t have many details about her donor but is hoping to meet up with the family one day.

She explained: “I do know it was from a man the same age as myself and think he may have been involved in a car accident. He was in a coma for two weeks but sadly there was no chance of recovery. It’s amazing how all these things can be done, and I will always be grateful.”

Allan Rennie who chairs NHS Forth Valley’s Organ and Tissue Donation Committee, said: “As this year’s Organ Donation Week gets underway, we’re encouraging everyone to think about organ and tissue donation and record that decision, whatever it may be, on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

“Just over half of the population in Forth Valley (55%) 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 organ and tissue donation is precious.

“However, it is also important to discuss your wishes with family and friends as having a conversation plays a vital part in making it easier for loved ones to support organ donation decisions.”

Photo caption: (L – R) Julie Booth, NHS Forth Valley Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation, Alison Reed, NHS Forth Valley Tissue Donation Coordinator, Dr Abigail Short, NHS Forth Valley Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, Salma Hussain, Transplant recipient; Dougie Porteous, Interim Head of Sport, Physical Activity and Inclusion with Active Stirling and Matt Bunnell, Interim Chief Executive with Active Stirling

Additional Information

NHS Organ and Tissue Donation Week takes place from 18-24 September 2023.

*Over half of people in the NHS Forth Valley area (55.3%) have now registered their donation decision – 52% opting in to donation, with 3.3% choosing to opt out.

People can register their donation decision and find out more at Organ Donation Scotland or by calling 0300 123 2323.

* NHS Organ Donor Register statistics supplied by NHS Blood and Transplant as of 6th August 2023.