Donor’s tragedy gives hope to nine fam­i­lies

Sunday News - - NEWS - BE­VAN HUR­LEY

ROBERT Hamp­shire is hop­ing he gets the call one day.

The Syd­ney psy­chi­a­trist would like to speak to the peo­ple whose sight was re­stored with his son James Teague’s strik­ing blue eyes, whose lives were saved by his liver, and qual­ity of life was im­proved with his pan­creas, kid­ney and heart.

‘‘I’d love to meet them, and I think they’d like to thank me as well. I think they’d want to know whose eyes they had,’’ says Hamp­shire.

Rugby-lov­ing Teague, 19, died af­ter fall­ing nearly 10m from a bal­cony dur­ing a ski­ing hol­i­day to Queen­stown with friends in 2014.

He was trans­ferred from Lakes District Hospi­tal to the in­ten­sive care unit at Dunedin Hospi­tal and kept alive un­til his par­ents could reach his bed­side.

‘‘They did a great job to keep him alive so we could say good­bye,’’ Hamp­shire said.

A chance con­ver­sa­tion with his mother Car­o­line Teague be­fore head­ing to Queen­stown, in which Teague de­clared his keen­ness to be a donor, made it an easy de­ci­sion for his par­ents.

‘‘We told the staff there we’d like to do­nate and within 10 min­utes we were swarmed with peo­ple, a huge team swung into ac­tion with blood match­ing, test­ing, sam­pling, look­ing for po­ten­tial matches.’’

A ‘har­vest’ team of sur­geons ar­rived in Dunedin from Auck­land and, as they op­er­ated on Teague, an air­craft waited with its en­gines run­ning to rush the or­gans to nine peo­ple across Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

His liver re­port­edly saved at least two lives, in­clud­ing that of a six-year-old boy. Teague’s pan­creas and kid­ney were given to a 32-year-old woman, which freed her from dial­y­sis and di­a­betes. His heart went to a 53-year-old man and his eyes gave sight to two young men.

Hamp­shire is speak­ing out to bring at­ten­tion to the low donor rates across New Zealand and Aus­tralia. In 2016, there were 61 de­ceased or­gan donors, up from 53 in 2015 and 46 in 2014.

The fam­i­lies of or­gan donors are able to com­mu­ni­cate anony­mously with re­cip­i­ents through Or­gan Do­na­tion New Zealand, of­ten ex­chang­ing cards on an­niver­saries and birthdays.

James Teague’s trans­planted or­gans went to nine re­cip­i­ents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.