A first-year undergraduate student at the University of Warwick has donated his organs for transplant, after suddenly dying over the Christmas holidays.
William Gradwell-Smith, known commonly as Billy, was from Luton and started studying Philosophy and Literature at Warwick this year. He died on 30 December 2016 following a sudden brain aneurism.
In a statement, his family explained: “Billy became seriously ill at home on the morning of Thursday 29th and was airlifted to Harefield hospital where he was put on life support. A CT scan confirmed this was the result of an aneurism and a massive bleed to his brain.
“He was not able to recover and lost his battle for life at approximately 13:00 on Friday 30th. We have been assured he did not suffer following the bleed.”
Billy’s sister, Hannah, has since set up a fundraising page for the Herts Air Ambulance Service that transported him to Harefield, as each flight costs £2,700 and it relies entirely on charitable donations.
The family statement goes on to say that Billy’s final wish was to donate his organs for transplant, which he since has done. His family commented: “It is hoped that this will give others hope in 2017.”
One donor with organs, eyes and tissue has the ability to benefit up to 50 people, often critically ill, that are on the national transplant list. Over 6500 people are currently awaiting transplants.
One donor with organs, eyes and tissue has the ability to benefit up to 50 people, often critically ill, that are on the national transplant list.
In the UK, organ donation is purely voluntary, unlike other countries that have an opt-out system in place, such as Spain, Austria and Belgium.
Even if someone signs up as an organ donor in the UK before their death, family and friends are able to object to it, despite whatever wishes may have been stated by the person beforehand.
The UK has one of the lowest consent rates for organ donation, with 62% of families approached over a relative donating after death agreeing to it. This equates to 4 out of 10 families refusing.
While 500,000 people die in the UK each year, only around 6000 of those will be viable for organ donation. Of these rough numbers in 2015-16, 1,364 people donated organs after death, resulting in 3,519 transplants.
It is believed that if 80% of families approached said yes to donation, over 1000 more transplants would take place.
You can register as an organ donor here.