Organ donors step forward

The number of Greeks agreeing to donate vital organs has risen in recent years but many parents will not allow the removal of organs from their dead children, according to a report made public yesterday. The National Transplant Organization (NTO) analyzed the figures it collected last year and in 2004 and found that the number of donors rose by some 35 percent (8.9 donors per million people last year compared to six in 2004). Last year’s figure is also a rise of 135 percent on donations in 2001. There were 227 prospective donors last year, of whom 89 turned out to be a match for the patients waiting for transplants. This was a rise of some 35 percent as well. However, the main reason (105 out of 138 cases) for organs from prospective donors not being used was the refusal of permission from the parents of the donor. Four in 10 donors, or 40 percent, are aged 51-70 and 20 percent are aged 11-30. The donations were used in some of 167 kidney transplants that took place in 2005 but NTO says that around 300 kidneys are actually needed for transplants in Greece each year. There are currently more than 700 people on the waiting list for new kidneys. Although things have improved for kidney patients, those seeking a lung transplant are forced to turn to medical authorities abroad as the operation is not yet available in Greece. Heart transplants in 2005 doubled to 10 while the number of liver transplants rose from 29 in 2004 to 34 last year. NTO said that some 4,000 people signed up as potential donors last year, taking the total number on its register to 88,000.