The families of 80 people who died during the year donated their organs, enabling 231 transplants to be completed.
Across the three national transplant centres in Beaumont, St Vincent’s University and the Mater hospitals in Dublin, 120 kidneys, 18 hearts, 27 lungs, 56 livers and five pancreas surgeries were completed.
In addition, living donors gave kidneys to enhance the lives of 37 patients this year.
Professor Jim Egan, the director of HSE Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI), paid tribute to the generosity of the donor families.
“Organ donation saves lives, and that’s the key message. It might have been best demonstrated with the Orla Tinsley television programme in the autumn that a lot of people watched,” he said.
The RTÉ documentary ‘Orla Tinsley: Warrior’ aired in September and captured the journalist’s life in the run-up to her successful double lung transplant in New York. The Irish Kidney Association subsequently reported a surge in the number of people requesting donor cards.
The number of organ transplants carried out in 2017 was a record 311. While there was a “robust” rate of organ donation and transplants in 2018, there are hopes to grow the numbers further next year.
“We are putting in additional surgical support for transplantation in 2019. We hope that will allow us support donation after cardiac death,” he said.
“We are very privileged because we see people who are hanging on to life, and then a family donate organs and their lives are literally saved.”
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