One of our experts in organ donation is going global to pass on her skills to medical staff during a charity-funded visit to India.
Clare Fletcher, a Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation, is spending ten days in a hospital in Dervan, on the west coast of India.
Employed by the NHS Blood & Transfusion Service and based with the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Clare’s role is to ensure any possible organ donation is carried out. As well as working and advising medical staff on the viability of any organs, Clare also supports bereaved families as they make the often-difficult decision to give consent for donation.
Clare is working with the Shree Vitthalrao Joshi Charities Trust (SVJCT), which arranges regular visits from various medical disciplines, at the B.K.L. Walawalkar Hospital in the village of Dervan to work with staff and advise on issues surrounding organ donation.
So valued are these visits, that medical staff from hundreds of miles away often travel to attend the lectures and training sessions.
Clare, 43, from Hartlepool, said: “I was very flattered to be asked by my former colleague, SVJCT founder Dr Sanjay Deshpande to take part in the visit. It’s a really exciting project and I can’t wait to get on the plane.
“As well as passing on my knowledge, I’ll be learning too as the hospital staff will be sharing their experiences with me as well.
“My main role will be carrying out presentations and study days for the staff and advising the hospital on processes to ensure safe organ donation.
“I’ll actually be working in the hospital as a nurse too and offering any advice on best practice in the UK and how they could possibly implement it. As an ex-accident and emergency nurse I’m looking forward to seeing how they run their A&E. It’s going to be great to deliver some hands-on nursing care in another country.
“I also have a passion for end of life care so I’m hoping to see how they support dying patients and I’ll be advising on how to approach families to ask for permission to donate organs.
“It’s always a difficult conversation to have with a grieving family member so it’s vital to get it right. The wrong approach can lead to permission being refused.”
Clare, who is using her own leave time for the visit, is also advising people in the UK to discuss their views and decisions surrounding organ donation ahead of an upcoming change to the law.
She said: “The law is changing soon to an ‘opt out’ organ donation register for the over-18s. But lots of people don’t realise we still need to have the permission from the next-of-kin after death.
“We’re encouraging people to discuss their personal decision about organ donation with the family. If family members know exactly how you feel about organ donation, either for or against, they know that should that terrible day come, they will be making the decision you want.”
For more information on organ donation, visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk
The Shree Vitthalrao Joshi Charities Trust (SVJCT) works in the Ratnigiri district, including the village of Dervan, Pune city and Mumbai city of the Maharashtra State, on western coast of India, supporting a population 0.6 million with basic needs such as food, water, clothing, shelter, education, and medical aid.
The Trust was formed by Dr Sanjay Deshpande, the former Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.