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Rosemarie’s organs save five people


Five lives saved by young woman’s organs

Family hopes story will urge more to carry organ donor cards

Anton McNulty

THE family of a young woman whose organ donation directly saved five lives following her tragic death in Mayo last year, have said they hope her passing and gift of life to others will encourage more people to carry donor cards.
An inquest into the death of 28-year-old Rosemarie Loughlin heard yesterday (Monday), that she was the holder of an organ donor card, and following her passing, five seriously ill people were given a new lease of life.
One of these was a 15-year-old boy, who received one of her kidney’s in Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin, after having undergone dialysis for a year prior to the operation.
Rosemarie or ‘Rosie’ Loughlin, as she was known to her family, died tragically in July last year, after she was seriously injured following a fall on the stairs of her Kiltimagh home. She was found by her husband, Brian, after he returned from work shortly after midnight on Friday morning, July 19. The Donegal native, who was married in 2009, was rushed to Mayo General Hospital, but failed to recover from her injuries. She died on July 21, 2013.
Speaking yesterday, a family member told The Mayo News that Rosemarie was the holder of an organ donor card and she and Brian discussed what would happen if anything were to ever happen to her.
“Rosie held an organ donor card and they often discussed if anything happened to her, her organs would go for donation. Brian was making sure her wishes were seen through. He got a letter to say where the organs are gone and he is glad her wishes have been seen through.
“Brian is all for organ donation as well. He had a cousin who was waiting for a lung transplant but it never transpired and he has seen both sides of the story. Hopefully this will encourage more people to do it [carry a donor card], you never know what’s going to happen.”
The information regarding the donations was revealed at the inquest into Rosemarie’s death by John O’Dwyer, Coroner for South Mayo, who received a letter from Beaumont Hospital outlining that all five transplants were very successful and the people were well on the road to recovery.

Gift of life
A part from the 15 year-old boy, a 50-year-old married father, who suffered with renal failure and had been undergoing dialysis for the past five years, was the beneficiary of Rosemarie’s second kidney, with the transplant operation taking place in Beaumont Hospital.
A 16-year-old boy received Rosemarie’s heart and underwent a successful transplant operation in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, while a 68-year-old man received her liver and a 59-year-old man was the recipient of her right lung.
Mr O’Dwyer said this was the highest number of people he has seen to benefit from a single donation, and added that these five people are now alive because of Rosemarie’s generosity.
“I hope you draw some comfort that so many people and families have benefited because of your generosity. You must be commended on what you done in difficult circumstances,” he told Rosemarie’s husband, Brian.
“A lot of people are asked but not everyone says yes, but you showed generosity of spirt to do what you did and all these people have benefited,” Mr O’Dwyer said.
Rosemarie worked as a Chemistry Technician in Allergan in Westport, where her husband Brian was also employed. They worked separate shifts and lived in Kiltimagh. The inquest heard that Rosemarie was due to be interviewed the next day regarding a new position in the company and was also due to go on holiday to Portugal.
She was found unconscious and bleeding at the bottom of the stairs by Brian when he returned from work at 12.40am. She was breathing and transferred by ambulance to Mayo General Hospital. She died on July 21 and the post-mortem found she suffered extensive fractures at the base of her skull and the cause of death was due to massive haemorrhaging.

Raising awareness
The high profile donation of a kidney from GAA pundit Joe Brolly has helped raise the awareness of organ donation in recent years. Claremorris footballer Alan Feeley, who died suddenly in 2013, was also a organ donor card holder and his organs also helped save the lives of five people.
Westport man Darren Cawley was nine years on dialysis before finally receiving a kidney transplant and feels every family should have a conversation about organ donation.
“I had a transplant when I was 20 but lost it when I was 22 due to a viral infection and spent the next nine years on dialysis. I spent every two days in hospital and it took over every aspect of my life. For years I was not able to live my life.
“There is a lot of work being done about raising awareness of donation but there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of it is down to ignorance. I know it is a morbid subject but it is important people have the conversation over with their family, discuss it and forget about it. People are more likely to need a transplant rather than being in the tragic position of having to donate. For me there is no downside to it,” he explained.