In October 2019, Dr Cutter received a kidney transplant, and has "overwhelming gratitude to the donor and his family." Photo: Shutterstock

In October 2019, Dr Cutter received a kidney transplant, and has "overwhelming gratitude to the donor and his family." Photo: Shutterstock

Doctor's 'overwhelming gratitude' after receiving life-saving organ transplant

Register to be an organ donor this DonateLife Week, July 26-August 2

Health
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DonateLife Week runs from July 26 to August 2.

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A former NSW Central West doctor is hoping to shine a light on the importance of donating organs and tissues after he was a recipient of a kidney just last year.

Dr Geoff Cutter was a regional GP in Bourke and Dubbo and now resides in Queensland.

He is sharing his personal story this DonateLife Week, which runs from July 26 to August 2.

Dr Cutter said the cause of his kidney failure was due to type 2 diabetes, but managed to go for 12 years before needing dialysis.

While he made the necessary lifestyle changes and was able to manage his diabetes, Dr Cutter needed peritoneal dialysis and then hemodialysis.

In October 2019 Dr Cutter received a kidney transplant, and said he is going really well and has "overwhelming gratitude to the donor and his family."

"No words can express it. It has given me a new life quite literally," he said.

According to DonateLife, more than 1700 Australian's are currently waitlisted for an organ transplant, which Dr Cutter described as "way too many."

"On average about two per cent of people who are happy to be donors are actually able to donate organs," he added.

The aim of DonateLife Week is to encourage all NSW residents are to talk about organ and tissue donation and join the Australian Organ Donor Register, something Dr Cutter is very passionate about.

Potentially one donor can save up to 10 lives, which Dr Cutter described as a huge legacy.

In NSW, you can no longer register via your driver's licence, something Dr Cutter said more people need to be made aware of.

"You have to register on the Donate Life website and a lot of people don't realise that if they've never done that then they're probably not on the register," he said.

"I think there are a core group of people who long ago made the decision (to donate), are well intentioned and want to do it, but may not actually still be on there."

Earlier this year a number of organ transplants, including kidney, kidney-pancreas, were initially suspended due to the risks surrounding COVID-19.

Liver, heart, lung, paediatric and multi-organ transplant programs were only restricted to those likely to die within four months if not transplanted, and were subject to case by case review of donor-recipient characteristics.

That is why Dr Cutter is "counting his blessings" that he received his transplant when he did, because he is among the vulnerable category of being susceptible to the virus.

Now he is urging others to adhere to the government's rules and regulations, including social distancing and not travelling to affected states.

Dr Cutter had to stop practising and said he has been basically living at his home since March.

"All transplant patients are permanently immune suppressed to reduce the risk of (organ) rejection, so I'm in that category," he said.

"That means... I am at high risk of COVID-19..."

According to DonateLife, since 2009 more than 13,000 Australians have had their lives saved as a result of an organ transplant.

Last year 1444 Australians received a life-saving transplant through the generosity of 548 deceased organ donors and their families who agreed to donation.

General Manager for the NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service Danielle Fisher said registration is so important because it leaves families in no doubt of their loved one's wish to be an organ and tissue donor.

"Registering is quick and easy at donatelife.gov.au. It only takes a minute with your Medicare card," she said.

In Australia, families will always be asked to consent to donation. When a person is registered, 9 in 10 families honour the wishes of their loved ones.

To join the Australian Organ Donor Register please visit donatelife.gov.au.

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