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How to Request Donor Details and Writing to your Donor Family
Receiving Details about your Donor.
Following your liver transplant you may have lots of thoughts about the person who kindly donated such a precious gift, the donor, and also their family. This is quite common after such an operation.
In the early days after the transplant you will need to recover physically.
You may also feel quite emotional during the first few weeks following your operation as you start adjusting to life with a new liver and medication.
However, you will know if and when the time is right for you to receive details about your donor. It is a very individual process and the Liver Recipient Transplant Coordinators will help you with any queries or concerns.
They can provide you with some anonymous details about your donor.
The details that they are able to give you about your donor are: Age, Sex, Next of kin and an area that they lived, ie Wales, West Midlands, or the South West, etc. Some patients also ask why the donor died, they can provide this information if you want to know. They will only give you the information that you asked for.
What do you do Next ?
Some patients only ever want to know details about the donor and once they have this information they keep it to themselves and their family. Other patients decide that they want to write a few words to the donor's family.
This is an Individual Process.
If you do want to receive details about the donor, contact the coordinators on the day before your clinic appointments and they will endeavour to have the information available at the clinic visit.
What to say and What not to say
In this first letter it is important that all parties remain anonymous. You should not include any information that might lead to your identity. That means you should not include last names, streets or numbers, email addresses names of hospitals and names of physicians and staff. If there is further correspondence or contact and both parties agree to exchanging identities then and only then is it appropriate to do so.
The safest assumption you can make is that the donor family is still grieving, regardless how much time has passed. Communicating with sensitivity is of utmost importance.
Here are some suggestions of what to include in your letter but remember, it must come from the heart and the words must be yours:
Open your letter with "Dear Donor Family"
Thank the donor family for their gift
Speak about your transplant experience - consider including details surrounding your wait, the surgery and recovery
Writing to the Donor Family.
If writing to the family is something that you feel you want to do, you do not have to write straight away. You will probably know when it is the best time for you.
For some patients this might be in the first couple of weeks but others may not feel comfortable writing for months. Do not be put off if the best time for you to write is not until a year after the operation, this is fine.
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