“The most important thing is talking”: Harefield Hospital staff and patients mark Organ Donation Week 2020

Harefield Hospital’s heart and lung transplantation unit is the UK’s largest and most experienced centre for heart and lung transplants. More than 3,000 transplant operations have been performed at the hospital since Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub carried out the first heart transplant there in 1980.

To mark Organ Donation Week 2020, staff and patients from the transplant unit speak about the life-changing impact of organ donation and the transplantation services offered at the hospital.

We hear from staff including a cardiac surgeon, transplant dietitian and clinical psychologist about their roles, the power of organ donation and the importance of discussing the subject with family and loved ones.

Patient Chris Bartlett, who recently had a heart transplant at Harefield Hospital, said: “About four years ago I was cycling home from work and my heart stopped. I was told I really needed a transplant, otherwise I wasn’t going to live for very long.

“All I can say is I was very, very lucky. I’d like to appeal to anyone out there…please, give everyone a chance.”

Harefield Hospital cares for patients awaiting assessment for transplantation, or who have been accepted onto the transplant waiting list, as well as patients who have had organ transplants or who need re-admission with complications following transplantation.

The hospital has the UK's largest ventricular assist device (VAD or 'artificial heart') service. Many patients receive VADs while they wait for a transplant and Harefield Hospital has the largest population of patients 'bridged' to transplant with an artificial heart in the UK. It also has the best long-term survival rates in the UK for patients who have had a heart or lung transplant.

Read more about Harefield Hospital’s heart and lung transplantation services.