15 episodes

Follow the touching and captivating stories from organ and tissue recipients, donor families, living donors, and expert medical and nursing specialists in DonateLife Victoria’s new podcast, Let’s Talk: Organ and Tissue Donation.

In stirring interviews, podcast host Michael Billings unearths the personal stories behind rare organ donation and transplantation cases, receiving ‘the call’, the donation journey, and the life-changing moments for everyone involved. 

Join us every fortnight for a new episode.

 

Let’s Talk Organ & Tissue Donation Hit91.9 Bendigo

    • Health & Fitness
    • 5.0 • 16 Ratings

Follow the touching and captivating stories from organ and tissue recipients, donor families, living donors, and expert medical and nursing specialists in DonateLife Victoria’s new podcast, Let’s Talk: Organ and Tissue Donation.

In stirring interviews, podcast host Michael Billings unearths the personal stories behind rare organ donation and transplantation cases, receiving ‘the call’, the donation journey, and the life-changing moments for everyone involved. 

Join us every fortnight for a new episode.

 

    Episode 14 - Dr.Sam Radford

    Episode 14 - Dr.Sam Radford

    “Donating, or planning to do so, is a really positive act and it should get celebrated. After you take in all the information, and you’ve really thought about it, if donation really aligns with your values, then take a minute to register. That’s all it takes.”

    These are the words of Dr Sam Radford, Deputy State Medical Director for DonateLife Victoria, in talking about the simplicity of registering to become an organ and tissue donor, and the fact that one day, that decision may save the lives of others.

    Death and dying can be a sensitive topic and often an uncomfortable subject to talk about, however, in this final and fascinating episode of Let’s Talk Organ and Tissue Donation, Dr Radford presents an array of interesting facts about organ donation, and busts some myths, too.

    Dr Radford answers questions about his role as an intensivist in a major Melbourne hospital, and talks about the different pathways to becoming an organ donor. He discusses which of our organs and tissue types can typically be donated, and talks about some of the different illnesses that may lead to the need for organ transplantation.

    Notably, Dr Radford also talks about the important relationship that is formed between a donor family, clinical staff and donation staff, to ensure that families are fully informed, to consider donation.

    “What we’re striving for is to make sure that the donation teams get face-to-face with donor families, or the donors individually themselves, before death and dying, and before the pathways to death and dying are set in stone. Then an informed conversation can take place alongside the clinical staff. The donation staff and the clinical staff work together to make sure that families get a chance to consider donation in a way that’s right for them.”

    While registering only takes a minute online, Dr Radford also explains why it’s so important to talk to your family about your registration decision.

    “Whether they agree with you or not, they’re definitely going to understand your decision better. In doing so, you have absolutely helped them - the people you love - for the eventuality that if you do die, where the possibility of donation exists, you’ve taken a burden off their shoulders. You’ll have made it really clear what your thoughts and values are.”

    More Australians are alive today because of organ and tissue donation. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit donatelife.gov.au – it only takes a minute.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 25 min
    Episode 13 - Dr.Graeme Pollock

    Episode 13 - Dr.Graeme Pollock

    “One eye donation can literally give two people back their sight. I think we all know what the impact in our lives of having good sight is. The impact of this type of donation is actually massive.”

    These are the words of Dr Graeme Pollock OAM – Director of the Lions Eye Donation Service, Centre for Eye Research Australia – one of Australia’s largest providers of donated eye tissue for transplant and medical research. Dr Pollock helped establish the service 30 years ago, this year.  

    Based at Melbourne’s Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, the Lions Eye Donation Service is an eye bank that establishes consent for donation, coordinates and performs donation surgery, and evaluates and distributes donated corneas and other eye tissue.

    In this fascinating episode, Dr Pollock talks eye donation, corneal transplants, and shares some wonderful anecdotes, including one about a patient whose corneas were estimated to be at least 120 years old, having had her transplant in 1953 from a donor who was then aged in his 70s.     

    For someone with a damaged cornea, a corneal transplant is often their last hope of restoring vision. Like organ donation, this sight-saving operation is only possible thanks to the decision of a donor and their family.  

    Dr Pollock says, while the service primarily allocates donated eye tissue for transplant to patients in Victoria and Tasmania, they also send eye tissue around Australia and even to New Zealand, when needed.

    While the eye bank has no shortage of donations, Dr Pollock acknowledges that for some people, the idea of eye donation can be a challenge. Asked why this might be, Dr Pollock says, “I think people are reluctant sometimes, and it’s probably because when we relate to someone, we often relate to them through their eyes. We know what they look like and we have an emotional engagement with them and with that person.”

    Dr Pollock says the impact of donation on recipient’s lives is remarkable, as is the success rate of transplantation. In 2020, there were approximately 2,500 corneal transplants Australia-wide; 530 of those took place in Melbourne. There were almost 1,500 corneal donors in Australia last year.

    More Australians are alive today because of organ and tissue donation. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit donatelife.gov.au – it only takes a minute.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 18 min
    Episode 12 - Dr.Rohit D'Costa

    Episode 12 - Dr.Rohit D'Costa

    “At the moment there are around 1,800 Australians on the transplant waiting list, so for these patients – who are in many instances desperately unwell – they really need a chance at life. For some of them, it’s a matter of life and death.”

    These are the words of Dr Rohit D’Costa, the State Medical Director for DonateLife Victoria, who, in this special DonateLife Week episode, explains why DonateLife is encouraging up to 100,000 more Australians to register as organ and tissue donors.

    DonateLife Week is an annual public awareness initiative that encourages Australians to register as organ and tissue donors. This year, it runs through July and August, with a big push from Sunday 25 July to Sunday 1 August.

    Dr D’Costa says DonateLife is asking all Australians to join the Great Registration Race, by inviting people to either register on the Australian Organ Donor Register, or their check their registration, as many people think they are registered, but aren’t.  

    He talks about the effects that COVID-19 had on donation and transplantation in 2020; the benefits that organ and tissue donation can have on people’s lives, and busts a few myths, too.

    Dr D’Costa wants everyone to get involved. Help spread the word by accessing the many resources at https://www.donatelife.gov.au/resources/donatelife-week

    “We really need people to make that registration decision and have the conversation with their loved ones,” he says.

    More Australians are alive today because of organ and tissue donation. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit donatelife.gov.au – it only takes a minute.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 13 min
    Episode 11 - Andrew Conway and Paul Greenwood

    Episode 11 - Andrew Conway and Paul Greenwood

    “Last year I died in my sleep. My wife and daughter had to do CPR on me; I was dead for about half an hour. The ambos took me away and I woke up a few days later in The Alfred.” 

    These are the words of Andrew Conway, who clinically died in his sleep after suffering a massive cardiac arrest in early 2020. Against all odds, Andrew was brought back to life by paramedics and transported to The Alfred Hospital.

    At present, around 1,800 Australians are wait listed for an organ transplant; and more than 12,000 Australians are currently on dialysis – many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant.

    In this special episode, Michael Billings speaks to two men on the organ waiting list: Andrew Conway, who is wait listed for a donor heart, and Paul Greenwood, who is wait listed for a donor kidney.

    Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at the age of 30, Andrew has suffered multiple heart attacks, undergone surgeries for pacemakers, and is now fitted with a device that keeps his heart pumping while he waits for the call that he hopes will change his life. 

    For Paul Greenwood, life changed 13 years ago after a biopsy found he had scarring on his kidneys. A once fit and healthy man, Paul would cycle 30 kilometres a day. Now on dialysis, Paul rarely has enough energy to walk his dog.

    Paul says, “While dialysis is good, you never feel 100%. It feels like you’re running in third gear all the time. You’re in a haze and some days you’re just getting through.”

    “I hope that if you put your name down to become a donor, it never happens for you. But maybe if it did, you could help so many people,” he says. “Instead of living in a bit of misery you can have a full, happy life.”

    More Australians are alive today because of organ and tissue donation. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit donatelife.gov.au – it only takes a minute.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 19 min
    Episode 10 - Brendan Cole

    Episode 10 - Brendan Cole

    “I was 6-foot-1 and weighed 48 kilograms. I received 100% of my nutrients through Total Parenteral Nutrition via an IV. Food was a foreign concept to me. It was just a fond memory.”

    These are the words of Brendan Cole, who made history in 2010 by being Australia’s first intestinal transplant recipient. 

    Suffering intestinal failure since infancy, Brendan also received a donor liver, pancreas and duodenum, in a complex and historic multi-organ transplant conducted by Austin Health surgeons, led by Professor Bob Jones.

    Brendan was being kept alive only by a process of artificial feeding directly into the bloodstream called Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). Without this ground-breaking transplant surgery, Brendan’s prognosis was poor. Eleven years on, Brendan is married with a young family, and has a wonderful future.

    “Thank you is one of those phrases that doesn’t seem enough. This (donor) family has done something that has given me a chance to have a future. Not only a future for myself, but to have an impact other people’s lives, raise a son, and be normal,” says Brendan.

    “In their darkest time, when they had just lost someone, they made the brave, heroic decision to donate their loved one’s organs. To have the foresight to think of someone else - you can’t thank them enough. They are heroes.” 

    More Australians are alive today because of organ and tissue donation. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit donatelife.gov.au – it only takes a minute.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 25 min
    Episode 9 - Fiona Hudson

    Episode 9 - Fiona Hudson

    “Everyone here that I work with really feels a passion for what they do. I think what we do, and the outcomes we’re involved in, really touch us.”

    These are the words of Fiona Hudson, a medical scientist with Victorian Transplantation and Immunogenetics Services (VTIS) at Australia Red Cross Lifeblood. In this episode, Fiona talks about the incredibly complex work the VTIS team undertake through scientific testing - often known as “tissue typing” - to determine compatibility between a wait list patient and a potential organ donor.

    Based at a laboratory at Australian Red Cross Lifeblood in West Melbourne, the VTIS team tests every day of the year, so when an opportunity arises for a wait list patient to be matched with the right organ donor, the most up-to-date information is available to help the doctors and coordinators select the right recipient, at the right time. The testing process can take between 8 to 10 hours to complete.

    Says Fiona, “For those people that have to wait months or years, we do a lot of testing, and a lot of names become very familiar to us. We don’t know any of the people on the waiting list personally, but it’s surprising how attached we all get to people that have been waiting for years for the right donor to come along.”

    More Australians are alive today because of organ and tissue donation. To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit donatelife.gov.au – it only takes a minute.

     

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

MsDaisy64 ,

For Scarlett

My beautiful 24 year old daughter Scarlett became an organ donor in March this year after suffering a pulmonary embolism. She had had a conversation with her brother only last year about organ donation so we knew her wishes. This podcast is comforting for me hearing about the changed lives of the recipients and behind the scenes of the process. Thank you.

Biiiiiiig T ,

Top shelf

This is a powerful listen. Incredibly put together. Top shelf

***AMW*** ,

Beautiful and Inspiring

Such a wonderful podcast about a very important topic. Michael is a great host and interviewer. I wish all the guests the very best for the future x

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