A family have rejoiced at being able to make their daughter’s dying wish of donating her organs come true even during the height of the pandemic and said they are “proud” her legacy will be saving the lives of others.
Claudia-Rose Moor, from St Leonards in East Sussex, was critically injured in a car accident in April 2020.
Doctors at the Royal Sussex County Hospital battled for four days to save the 23-year-old’s life but told her family she would not survive.
Ms Moor’s mother, Nichola, said she then remembered a conversation they had as a family a year earlier, when her daughter insisted she wanted to be an organ donor.
“I just knew I had to make it happen,” Mrs Moor said.
“But we knew there could be a possibility it might not be able to go ahead as we were in the height of a pandemic and we had to make sure any organs we agreed to donate were able to be transplanted.
“Luckily, she was able to donate three organs, which is amazing.
“We are so incredibly proud.”
She added: “She would do anything for anyone.
“She treated strangers as friends and that’s what’s so poignant about her being a donor.
“She would give anyone anything, she was so generous, and we are so proud that her lasting legacy is giving life to three other people.”
It was my birthday and it was the most amazing present I will ever receiveCarl Flynn
Ms Moor donated her heart, liver and a kidney to three different people.
Transplants became riskier to perform when coronavirus struck from March 2020, due to concerns around safely treating patients in hospitals and a lack of available resources, resulting in the number of operations being performed falling significantly.
As a consequence, 487 people died waiting for a transplant last year, compared with 372 the year before – a 22% rise.
However, efforts were made to keep up procedures for the most critically ill and a report by NHS Blood and Transplant published on Thursday found that, despite extreme pressures on the health service, doctors still managed to carry out 80% of normal transplant activity.
Carl Flynn, 32, from Manchester, was one of the patients to have a transplant during the pandemic.
At the age of 25, he had a heart attack and was lucky to survive.
He was warned that his heart was failing and, after years of battling infections, he was listed for an urgent transplant in February 2020, only a month before Covid-19 hit.
He received his call in November.
“I wondered if I’d get a transplant with the pandemic, things were against me, you think it isn’t going to happen,” Mr Flynn said.
“Then I got a call in the middle of the night.
“Everything took longer with Covid and extra tests, but I felt safe and everything went well.
“It was my birthday and it was the most amazing present I will ever receive.”
Mr Flynn said he has returned to exercising and has started training for the Transplant Games, which are being held in Leeds in August this year.
He added: “I think about my donor family every day.
“Obviously, it must have been a lot more difficult with Covid, I don’t know if they were able to be with their loved one and that’s awful.
“I don’t know how to say thank you.
“I can’t thank them enough for their kindness.”
Transplant centres now have the challenge of dealing with the backlog of new referrals and with the patients who were temporarily removed from the list at the pandemic’s peak.
It is estimated that the number of people waiting for a transplant in the UK is now around 7,000, the highest figure since 2012/2013.
Living donor transplants, which fell by 58% during the pandemic, have also resumed.
The number of families consenting to organ donation has risen again for the sixth consecutive year, to 69%.
And organ donation law has changed in England and Scotland, meaning it will be assumed people want to be a donor after death unless they register otherwise.
But families will still be consulted if organ donation becomes a possibility for their loved one.
John Forsythe, NHS Blood and Transplant medical director, said: “The fact that we managed to maintain three-quarters of our normal donation and transplantation activity is absolutely phenomenal.
“With a great team effort across clinical teams, deceased organ donation and transplant activity continued for the most urgent patients during the first wave of Covid-19 and returned to pre-Covid levels quite rapidly, with July and August being record summer months for donation and transplantation.
“In later surges the teams managed to keep the majority of these vital procedures going.
“However incredible this achievement, we mustn’t forget that there are still thousands of people in need of lifesaving organ transplants and we are doing our utmost to work with clinical teams and donor families to try and close the gap between those receiving a transplant and those still waiting.
“There’s no escaping the fact that organ donation and transplantation will take some time to recover completely, as will the rest of the NHS.”