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Grafton Base Hospital introduces bone donation program

Representatives from the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service discussed the introduction of a new femoral head bone donation program with Grafton Base Hospital’s clinicians and executives last Thursday March 2.
The discussion was one of several that took place at north coast hospitals, as part of a Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) initiative to highlight the importance of organ and tissue donations among the region’s local communities.
Clinical nurse consultant Mary Campbell, from the Northern NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, said the hospital’s new femoral head bone donation program “would allow families to consider tissue donation and to do it locally”.
“The femoral head bone is typically removed during a hip replacement and would otherwise be discarded following the operation,” Ms Campbell said.
“Bone donation can assist people needing life-enhancing spinal fusions and treatments after cancer, trauma and sports injuries.”
Patients at Grafton Base Hospital can now also donate a range of organs and tissues without having to be relocated to another hospital.
“Previously patients had to be transferred to Coffs Harbour or Lismore hospitals, which meant a patient’s family was often displaced during the process,” Ms Campbell said.
“Only people on life support who die in intensive care are able to become organ donors.”
In a media release, the NNSW LHD states: “In 2016, a record 1,448 Australians received a lifesaving transplant as a result of the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors, whose families agreed to donation at the time of their loved one’s death”.
“With ongoing education and improved awareness we can increase this number,” state medical director for the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service Dr Elena Cavazzoni said.
“One donor can save up to 10 lives and improve the lives of many more. Many people aren’t aware that only about one to two per cent of people who die in hospital will be eligible to donate their organs, which is why raising awareness at a local level is so critical.”
The option for people in NSW to register a donation decision via their driver’s licence is not longer available.
The Australian Organ Donor Register is the only way to record your decision to become an organ and tissue donor.
To find out how to register online, visit