July 27, 2023

We are Northern: This is the Donation Specialist team

This week is DonateLife Week – an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the critical importance of organ and tissue donation.

This year’s campaign message is ‘Donate a Minute. Donate a Lifetime.’ It aims to encourage more Australians to register their wishes and promote the importance of telling family and friends should they wish to become organ donors.

As part of DonateLife week, today we introduce the Northern Donation Specialist Team, which comprises a Medical Donation Specialist, Dr David Crosbie, and a Nurse Donation Specialist, Bridget Walters. They both work closely with DonateLife Victoria.

 The Donation Specialist Team support and offer families of Northern Health patients the possibility of organ and tissue donation within the Intensive Care Unit at Northern Health.

“Organ and Tissue Donation would not be able to occur without the commitment, teamwork and compassionate nature that is in place to support our team, patients and their families through organ and tissue donation across the organization, in particular the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and Theatre,” said Dr Crosbie.

The Donation Specialist team also collaborate with the Medical Designated Officers, Northern Pathology, Radiology, Echocardiology and Interventional Cardiology, who are all very accommodating of the needs of the donor patients, often over short timeframes.

“The allied health teams, through their social work team, and the Transcultural and Language Services (TALS) team of interpreters and translators, play a pivotal role during donor conversations and are always empathetic towards families during this difficult time,” said Ms Walters.

At Northern Health last year, three families said ‘yes’ to organ donation. These donations saved and transformed the lives of nine very grateful recipients. Seven families said ‘yes’ to eye and tissue donation, restoring the sight and changing the lives of 14 recipients.

“We thank all organ and tissue donors and their families for their generosity,” said the Donation Specialist team.

Over the last 12 months, eleven organ and tissue donation clinical nurse champions across the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and Theatre have worked closely with the Donation Specialist team to raise awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation, provide education, attend and participate in study days and most importantly, be an integral resource for their colleagues in their respective areas.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff who are involved in facilitating the wishes of donor patients and their families at Northern Health and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future,” said Ms Walters.

This important week gives hope to 1,800 Australians waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, inclusive of 70 people waiting for a life-saving heart transplant and thousands more on dialysis or in need of an eye or tissue transplant.

Could you donate 1 minute to give someone a lifetime?

If you are interested in registering, please visit donatelife.gov.au

Alternatively, you can register with three taps in your Medicare App.

Thank you to the Donation Specialist team for all that you do.

Pictured in featured image (L-R): Bridget Walters and Dr David Crosbie.