I saw organ donations save others - then a transplant eventually saved my life

Dr Snehasish Guha.
Dr Snehasish Guha.

Twenty four people in Bedfordshire have lost their lives in the last five years due to the shortage of organs.

New figures released by the NHS Blood and Transplant Service have revealed that there are currently 106 people in the county on the waiting list for a transplant.

And those 24 patients who were desperately waiting for one in Bedfordshire died before they could get one.

There are currently 179,830 people on the register in Bedfordshire.

And as a result of donors 16 people have received a life-saving transplant in the last year.

The service has released the figures in a bid to encourage more people to sign up as registered donors, as well as asking those already signed up to spread the word to their friends and family.

Doctor Snehasish Guha knows only too well what a difference having a transplant can make - both personally and professionally.

Dr Snehasish works as an anaesthetist at Harlow Hospital. He says he made the decision to put himself on the donor list after he treated his first transplant patient.

But little did he know just six months later he would be the one considering having a transplant.

The 45-year-old, of Landsdowne Road, Bedford, was diagnosed with heart failure in 2006 after months of feeling unwell .

For the first four years he felt it could be treated with medication, but in 2010 after his condition worsened he was put on the transplant list.

Two years later in 2012 on May 31 he underwent the heart transplant that he says completely changed his life.

Talking about when he first became ill Dr Snehasish said: “As a doctor I dealt with things like this all the time, but funnily enough when it came to me I couldn’t take my own advice.

“I just felt very lethargic. I still carried on working but there was just something that wasn’t quite right, I wasn’t getting around as quickly as I should have.

“When I wasn’t working I would find that I was lying on the sofa and five hours would go by. I wasn’t eating very well, I remember going to a dinner party and I just wasn’t myself.

“By then I knew something was wrong. I went to see someone and they ran tests, but they were inconclusive.

“At that point I was just managing to get by. It was thought I had a chest infection, so my wife was encouraging to drink lots of water, but what we didn’t know was this was just pushing me towards heart failure.”

The doctor soon diagnosed himself with heart failure after realising it was his heart and not his lungs.

For the next four years he decided to control his condition through medication, until he fell seriously ill on a family holiday to India in 2010 and was unable to fly home.

When he eventually returned he was put onto the transplant list, but it wasn’t until two years later that an organ match came up.

He went in for the operation on May 1, 2012 but surgeons were not happy with the organ. Another heart came up on May 31 and the operation was carried out successfully.

The now healthy doctor added: “It saved my life. If I had gone on like I had been doing, the heart failure would have killed me.

“I am so glad I had the operation and I really must thank my transplant cardiologist Dr Jayan Parameshwar who has been there with me through my whole journey.

“He never told me what I should or shouldn’t be doing or put pressure on me to have the transplant when I wasn’t ready.”

He added: “There are not enough people on the register, they desperately need more donors.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.